U.S. consumer confidence jumps to 15-year high in December with rising expectations for 2017. Retail stores struggle with cautious holiday season spending, while mobile drives strong ecommerce growth. Amazon reports record holiday sales, including 10,451 carats of diamonds. Hong Kong sees Christmas tourist rush but luxury spending restrained ahead of Jan. 28 Chinese New Year. Diamond trading quiet with Indian manufacturing slow due to demonetization liquidity crisis. The Rapaport Group wishes everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year.
Fancies: Fancy-shape demand improving with shortages of fine-quality, large Pears and Ovals. Cushions making strong comeback. Princess and Emeralds slow following seasonal orders from large U.S. jewelry chains. 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 trading quiet as wholesalers and dealers take vacation between Christmas and New Year. Verdict still out regarding holiday jewelry sales as slow(ish) season salvaged by last-minute shopping rush. Strong dollar discouraging tourist spending, but rising consumer confidence expected to boost domestic sales.
Belgium: Polished and rough trading very quiet with most dealers on vacation during the Christmas to New Year period. Antwerp bourses closed until January 9.
Israel: Diamond trading quiet with many dealers taking vacation over 8-day Chanukah holiday. Businesses focused on structuring finances to meet new tax requirements. Tax Authority extends deadline to February 28 for voluntary disclosure of assets, inventory and unpaid back taxes. Dealers optimistic about U.S. demand in 2017.
India: Polished trading slow. Some improvement as Antwerp-based Indian dealers travel to Mumbai during Belgium vacation period. Domestic buyers cautious with tight liquidity resulting from government demonetization policy. Chinese buyers shifting to lower price points. Polished inventory reduced with very little new supply as manufacturers kept production low after Diwali.
Hong Kong: Retail relatively busy over Christmas to New Year period. Notable rise in tourist traffic but Chinese visitors spending less time and money in Hong Kong than previous years. Gold demand subdued despite low price level. Retailers preparing for Chinese New Year with positive expectations in Mainland China. Dealer trading quiet as large retailers already completed their Chinese New Year purchases.