Diamond trading slow due to holidays in Hong Kong, Israel and India. Suppliers holding prices firm for new polished production they hope to sell at the Las Vegas shows, but are willing to reduce prices on leftover old stock. April RAPI for 0.30 ct. +0.8%, 1 ct. -0.3%. Rising concern that strong rough demand and prices getting ahead of polished. Lucara 1Q sales -48% to $26M, loss of 1.5M vs. profit of $17.1M a year earlier. Hong Kong 1Q polished imports +11% to $4.7B, polished exports +6% to $3.4B. India March polished exports +2% to $1.9B, rough imports +15% to $1.6B. Signet announces retirement of Clark McEwen, VP of diamond sourcing, and Stuart Lee, chief merchandising officer.
Fancies: Steady demand for Pears in the Far East, with Ovals overtaking Pears as the strongest shape in the US. 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: Steady polished trading. New York dealers struggling to compete with Indian suppliers who are selling lower qualities at competitive prices. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, SI diamonds. Fancy-shape market selective, with good demand for Ovals and improving demand for Marquise. Strong retail promotions ahead of Mother’s Day weekend (May 8).
Belgium: Sentiment mixed, with positive feedback from dealers with the right goods. Shortage of nice-make (RapSpecA2+), 1 ct., G-H, VS1-SI2 and good demand for 0.50 ct., G, SI diamonds. High-end large stones slightly weaker. Rough market steady. Dealers optimistic about next week’s “diamonds only” Carat+ trade show in Antwerp.
Israel: Quiet trading during shortened business week due to Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays. Sentiment weaker than a month ago as inter-dealer trading in the bourse has slowed. Dealers hoping for improved US demand at upcoming Las Vegas shows. Suppliers holding large inventory levels of lesser-quality goods, and note shortage of better-quality RapSpec A2 diamonds.
India: Trading relatively quiet, with dealers sporadically taking vacation throughout the May school holiday period. Large factories operating at full capacity and gaining market share. US and Israeli buyers looking for goods, but having difficulty closing deals as suppliers hold prices firm. Domestic dealers positive after strong jewelry and gold sales during Akshaya Tritiya Hindu festival.
Hong Kong: Polished trading slow with many businesses closed for May 1 Labour Day holiday. Positive sentiment amid reports of improving jewelry retail sales in Hong Kong and China. Steady retail activity, with strong bridal sales during the holiday, as May is a busy wedding season. Good consumer demand for 0.50 to 0.80 ct., F-I, VVS-VS, 3X diamonds for engagement rings.