Industry News by Nemesis

Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

April 15, 2016

Rounds: Rough markets firm as De Beers sells $660M in sales cycle 3 (April) following $617M in cycle 2 (Feb.) Steady mid-single-digit premiums for many De Beers boxes. Dealers speculating on over-priced big stone rough but demand for larger polished is weak. Polished markets slowing. China clamping down on overseas luxury purchases with 15% tax on jewelry imports by “daigou” tourist shoppers and online buyers. Chow Tai Fook 3Q sales -26% impacted by Chinese tourists moving purchases overseas. LVMH 1Q watch & jewelry revenue +7% to $884M. Dominion 2015 revenue -21% to $721M, loss of $34M vs. profit of $67M. U.S. Feb. polished imports +0.3% to $1.8B, polished exports +10% to $2B.


Fancies: Ovals doing well and cushions have cooled off. Emeralds selling. Princess and Hearts slow. Top quality fine-cut fancy shapes OK but buyers are extremely picky. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1 ct. Far East fancy demand weak. Buyers are very selective and insisting on excellent-shape proportions. Significant 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 trading slows in April. Steady demand for bread-and-butter 0.30 to 1.99 ct., G-J, SI-I2 diamonds. Suppliers holding prices firm while buyers find it difficult to fill specific orders. Very little inventory buying. Fancy shapes quiet with shortage of better-quality large stones. General retail stable with slight slowdown in consumer spending reported in March. Steady 5% growth at specialty jewelry stores in Jan.-Feb., according to government data.


Belgium: The market is stable. Good dealer demand for specialty items such as fancy color and certain fancy shape diamonds. Pears and ovals steady, cushions slower and princess cuts weak. General trading driven by U.S. demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds.Rough market active with good demand and mid-single-digit premiums for De Beers boxes on the secondary market. Demand for ALROSA supply weaker. 


Israel: Polished trading cautious amid tough market for large diamonds. Sluggish activity in April with dealers ready to take vacation during 7-day Passover holiday (April 22-28). Trading focused on U.S. market. Far East demand cautious with reports Israelis downsizing Hong Kong operations. Rough trading steady for commercial-quality goods but concern about high prices of large-stone rough.   


India: Trading slowed in the past two weeks after positive first quarter. Buyers resisting higher prices for new polished supply. Good Far East demand for GIA dossiers with some shortages in RapSpec A2 diamonds. U.S. demand stable. Domestic Indian demand cautious. Jewelry retailers end strike ahead of popular gold buying season. Rough trading steady with De Beers boxes selling at mid-single-digit premiums on the secondary market.


Hong Kong: Polished demand is order specific and there is very little buying for inventory. Fancy colors doing better than colorless stones with good demand for rare pink and blue diamonds. China is stronger than Hong Kong and Macau. Outbound tourism to Japan, South Korea and Europe affecting local jewelers in Greater China. Chinese government raising import taxes to encourage local jewelry and watch consumption.


Source: Rapaport

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