Dealers return from spring break in optimistic mood despite low trading volumes. Steady influx of new polished production entering the market. Large Indian manufacturers raising production, while small factories still acclimatizing to demonetization and low levels of demand. Dealers shifting focus to U.S. ahead of Las Vegas shows. Jewelers discounting to bring consumers back to stores this Mother’s Day. Luk Fook 4Q same-store sales +2%, gold -1%, gem-set jewelry +11%. Firm rough premiums on the dealer market. ALROSA 1Q production +9% to 8.9M cts., sales +17% to 14.1M cts. Rio Tinto 1Q production -8% to 4.2M cts. Dubai 2016 rough exports +29% to $9.8B, rough imports +16% to $6.3B.
Fancies: Good demand for Pears in the Far East, with Ovals overtaking Pears as the 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 market steady although many businesses closed last week for the Passover holiday. A lot of goods out on memo. Strong retail promotional activity ahead of Mother’s Day (May 14). Large department stores scaling back brick-and-mortar operations, hurt by declining mall traffic and increased competition from online. General retail sales softened -0.2% in March first quarter, government data showed.
Belgium: Dealers slowly returned from the long Easter weekend relatively positive about the market. Trading slow but expected to improve in the coming weeks as business returns to normal. Rough market steady during monthly Alrosa sale, with rising premiums for Russian goods on the secondary market.
Israel: Diamond trading quiet given it was a short week due to Passover. Dealers focused on US market with rising expectations for upcoming Las Vegas shows. Steady US demand for 1 ct., G-J, SI-I1 diamonds. Bourse publishes ethical code of conduct for members.
India: Dealers relatively upbeat despite decline of foreign buyers during Passover and Easter. Local trading steady with good demand for dossiers, particularly for 1 ct., J-L, VS-SI diamonds. Some concern about slower-than-usual US demand ahead of Las Vegas shows. Manufacturers maintaining steady production, with large factories operating at full capacity. Demonetization still affecting smaller units, but dealers report improved liquidity in the market. Rough demand firm.
Hong Kong: Quiet week due to holidays, but polished trading generally slow compared to busy first-quarter period. Good demand for 0.30 to 0.39 ct., D-H, VVS1-VS2 diamonds and improving demand for better-quality (RapSpec 2A+) stones above 1 ct. Retail market improving from last year’s low points, particularly in mainland China. Jewelers optimistic about upcoming May 1 holiday and Mother’s Day.