Dealers optimistic about short-term demand following improved trading at the Hong Kong show. Buyers did better than sellers as suppliers were willing to compromise on price in order to generate liquidity and reduce inventory before new better-quality polished production becomes available. Chinese demand changing and competing with U.S. market for lower-price-point SI-I1 goods, leaving IF-VVS weak. Signet Jewelers 2016 sales -2% to $6.4B, profit +16% to $543M. Belgium Feb. polished exports -15% to $1.4B, rough imports -32% to $908M. GIA discovers large parcel of undisclosed CVD synthetics mixed with natural melee at Mumbai lab. Russia confirms Sergey Ivanov as new ALROSA CEO.
Fancies: Fancy-shape demand for Pears good in the Far East with Ovals overtaking Pears as strongest shape in the U.S. Shortages of fine-quality, large Pears and Ovals. Cushions stable. Emeralds selling better than Princesses. Some demand for big fancy shapes, but buyers extremely picky. Improving demand for Radiant, 3.01 to 9.99 ct., D-I, SI1-SI2 elongated stones. 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 stable with positive momentum from the Hong Kong show. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Good demand for SIs to fill orders for retail programs. Better-quality D-F, IF-VVS slow. Large-stone demand selective and price sensitive. Jewelry retail sales stable with March-April a slower period of the year.
Belgium: Positive sentiment as trading improved at the Hong Kong show. Dealers optimistic about short-term rise in polished trading after slow start to the year. Market encouraged by steady U.S. demand and improving Chinese buying. Good demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., I-K, VS-SI diamonds. Rough trading stable with manufacturers concerned about tight profit margins.
Israel: Dealers more optimistic after Hong Kong show. Good Indian demand for I-K colors. Chinese buyers shifting to SIs. Fancy shapes stable with good demand for Pears and Ovals. Squares weak. Inventory levels steady with new better-quality polished production becoming available.
India: Polished market stable as dealers returned from positive Hong Kong show. Dealers optimistic about the U.S. and hopeful the Chinese market is starting to improve. Good demand for GIA dossiers, especially SIs. A lot of imperfect goods (milky or black-spotted) on the market. Steady rough demand as major manufacturers raise production levels.
Hong Kong: Positive mood as dealers focus on follow-up after the show. Good dealer demand for loose diamonds which were more liquid than finished jewelry at the show. Steady demand for 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI, 3X diamonds. Chinese independent retailers shifting to lower price-points signaling a change in consumer demand. Yuan depreciation against the dollar (-6.4% in the past year, -0.5% this week) limiting buyers’ budgets.