All eyes on Hong Kong as industry focuses on important Far East show. Sentiment in cutting centers is positive with improved dealer trading but show expectations are mixed and uncertain. Polished prices stable in anticipation of the show with Aug. 1 ct. RAPI -0.8%, 0.30 ct. flat, 0.50 ct. +0.2%, 3 ct. +0.2%. Profitability under pressure as rough premiums firmed after $630M De Beers sale as cutters increase production before Diwali. Belgium Aug. polished exports +17% to $399M, rough imports +9% to $659M. U.S. July polished imports -20% to $1.8B, polished exports -2% to $1.4B. HRD Antwerp fires three employees, bans client after uncovering grading discrepancies at Mumbai lab.
Fancies: Markets slow. Large 5 ct.-plus fine-quality goods getting more interest. Ovals and Pears steady. 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 improved slightly with dealers preparing holiday inventory. Profitability squeezed after long period of sustained price declines. Dealers waiting for Hong Kong show to signal market direction. Steady demand for 1 to 3 ct., VS2-SI, H-J, 3X diamonds, with a lot of requests for goods on memo. Wholesalers and retail jewelers cautious after slow summer sales.
Belgium: Sentiment improving head of Hong Kong show. Steady Far East demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, VS-SI goods. U.S. and European buyers cautious. Improving dealer demand for large stones above 5 ct., D-H, VS-SI. Dossiers slow. Rough trading steady but higher rough premiums squeezing manufacturing and dealer profits.
Israel: Positive mood with good activity at monthly Blue & White Fair. Dealers looking at wider variety of diamonds to fill existing orders. Some uncertainty about prices as dealers expect Indian manufacturers will try to raise prices to cover higher rough costs. Steady demand for 1 ct., D-H, VS1-SI2 diamonds. Stable U.S. demand for memo goods.
India: Dealers focused on Hong Kong show hoping stronger trading will raise liquidity. Large volumes expected on display at the show. Polished inventory increased due to steady manufacturing amid slow 2Q and 3Q polished sales. Stable demand for 1 ct., H-M, VS-SI diamonds. Rough trading steady as factories ramp up production before closing for Diwali (October 30).
Hong Kong: Trading slowed slightly with buyers waiting for next week’s show. Sentiment cautious as local jewelry retail remains slow and large-scale buyers already holding a lot of inventory. Steady Chinese bridal demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., D-H, VS-SI diamonds with jewelers preparing for October 1 National Day festival.