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Rapaport Market Report

Jan 12, 2017 11:00 AM   By Rapaport News
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Diamond demand uncertain as U.S. jewelers report weak holiday sales. Signet disappoints as Nov.-Dec. sales -5% to $1.9B with fewer transactions, higher average price, and technical glitches on ecommerce channel. Mall traffic slow with department stores discounting heavily to attract customers. Macy’s, J.C. Penney jewelry outpaces sluggish overall performance. Rising expectations for Chinese New Year after Chow Tai Fook 3Q retail sales +7% in China, -6% in Hong Kong. Steady rough demand expected at next week’s De Beers sight as manufacturers raise production for 1Q stock replenishment. ALROSA 2016 sales +26% to $4.5B. U.S. Nov. polished imports -2% to $1.6B, exports +25% to $1.7B.

Fancies: Fancy-shape demand improving with shortages of fine-quality, large Pears and Ovals. Cushions making strong comeback. Emeralds better than Princesses. Some demand for big diamonds, but buyers extremely picky. U.S. demand steady, Far East weak. Large price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly-cut fancies illiquid and very hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

United States: Polished market stable as dealers return from Christmas break. Diamond trading expected to improve as jewelers replenish stock sold during holiday period. Steady demand for 0.75 to 2 ct., F-J, VS2-I2 diamonds. Availability of low-quality diamonds rising due to soft Indian demand. Better-quality RapSpec A2+ diamonds difficult to find. Curved fancy shapes better than squares. Large jewelers’ retail sales disappoint.

Belgium: Trading quiet as dealers return from vacation. Cautious mood after polished prices softened in December and as banks restrict funding to local traders. Dealers expect lower prices will stimulate demand in the first quarter. Steady demand for 0.50 to 0.80 ct., G-J, VS-SI RapSpec A3+ diamonds. Larger stones above 4 ct. weak. Rough trading slow with dealers waiting for clearer trend during next week’s De Beers sight.

Israel: Sentiment weak with polished trading very slow. Uncertainty surrounding new tax laws adding to caution. Dealers waiting for U.S. holiday feedback to assess first-quarter stock requirements. Demand has narrowed with highly requested goods difficult to find. Suppliers maintaining firm prices when filling specific orders. Large inventory buyers able to push higher discounts. Steady demand for 1 ct., D-E, VVS and 1 ct., J-K, VVS-VS1 diamonds.

India: Stable market with steady Far East demand ahead of Chinese New Year season. U.S. demand slow as buyers return from holiday. Domestic market still feeling effect of demonetization. Major retailers with organized credit and electronic payment facilities doing relatively well. Large manufacturers raising production as U.S. post-holiday orders begin. Small factories feeling liquidity squeeze remain closed. Steady production of dossiers and 1 ct., while manufacturing of small goods is slow.

Hong Kong:
Diamond trading slow with manufacturers and wholesalers closing for Chinese New Year holiday. Retail sentiment improving ahead of the Jan. 28 festival with growth in mainland China expected from last year’s low base. Jewelers making final purchases for the season with steady demand for 0.30 to 0.70 ct., E-J, VVS-SI RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Strong dollar adding to caution in Hong Kong.
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