India IIJS show better than expected for gold jewelry but weak for diamonds. Manufacturing profit under pressure with relatively high rough prices and sluggish polished demand. Rising expectations for Hong Kong show. U.S. supporting the market but large retailers dominating demand and squeezing suppliers. U.S. independent jewelers exiting with 460 business closures (+88%) in 2Q. Blue Nile 2Q sales flat at $114M, profit -9% to $2M. Lucara 2Q revenue +169% to $141M, profit +436% to $46M after selling 813 ct. rough for $63M ($77K/ct.). Sarine 2Q revenue +45% to $21M, profit +122% to $6M. U.S. June polished imports flat at $1.7B. Hong Kong 1H polished imports -9% to $8.5B.
Fancies: Markets slow with some weakening of prices. Ovals and Pears doing well. Cushions supported by specific orders. Emeralds selling with improving large-stone demand. 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 quiet. Jewelers insisting on memo rather than buying for inventory. Larger jewelry retail chains looking for goods but pushing for higher discounts. Dealers focused on RapSpec A2+ (3X, None) as premiums over non-A2 decline. Steady demand for 0.70 to 1.25 ct., G-J, VS-SI goods. 0.30 to 0.40 ct. slightly slower.
Belgium: Antwerp diamond bourses closed until August 22 for summer vacation. Some Antwerp-based Indian dealers in Mumbai looking for goods but demand expected to remain quiet until September Hong Kong show.
Israel: Polished trading very quiet ahead of summer vacation period. Israel Diamond Exchange to close August 15 to 28. Dealers cautious due to slow demand and tightening credit conditions. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.89 ct. and 1.01 to 1.99 ct., G-J, SI goods with some weakness in VS-clarity. 2 to 5 ct. slow. Steady demand for large-size fancy shapes above 5 ct. with dealers shifting to lower-quality polish, symmetry and fluorescence. Demand for emeralds improving.
India: Trading at IIJS show focused on gold rather than diamonds. Gold jewelry demand steady ahead of Diwali season but jewelers cautious after gold price jumps +26% to INR 31,400/10 gram. Polished market quiet with steady U.S. demand from major retailers. Manufacturing profits squeezed as rough remains expensive and polished remains sluggish.
Hong Kong: Slight improvement as dealers return from vacation and prepare for September Hong Kong show.Chinese demand improving for dossiers with retailers looking for bargains. Good demand for 1 ct., D-F, VS-SI, 3X diamonds. Local Hong Kong retailers struggling with slow luxury demand and high rentals.