Dealers gaining confidence, with firm prices and steady demand expected in 1Q. Far East orders slowing as jewelers complete Chinese New Year preparations. Shortages supporting prices. Robust rough market during De Beers sight as cutters increase production. Fewer independent US jewelers -4% to 26,031 in 2017. Michael Hill closing US stores as 1H global sales +5% to $273M. Forevermark holiday sales volume +38%. De Beers 2017 sales +10% to 35.1M cts., production +22% to 33.5M cts., average price -13% to $162/ct. Rio Tinto 2017 production +21% to 21.6M cts. India 2017 polished exports +2% to $23.1B, rough imports +11% to $18.5B. Ronnie VanderLinden reelected US DMIA president.
Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, followed by Pears and Cushions. Emeralds and Radiants okay, Princesses still weak. Oversizes selling well. Steady demand for fine-quality 6 to 10 ct. Ovals, Pears and Emeralds, with limited supply. US supporting market for commercial-quality, medium-priced fancies under 1 ct. Far East demand improving as consumers seek fancy shapes at better prices. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.
United States: Steady trading during India week at the new Diamond Dealers Club in International Gem Tower (50 W 47th street). Optimistic mood among dealers, with buyers actively looking for RapSpec A2+ (3X, no fluorescence) goods. Shortages due to reduced manufacturing. Jewelers preparing inventory for Valentine’s Day, with focus on engagement and bridal collections.
Belgium: Positive sentiment, with good dealer demand for RapSpec A2+ diamonds. Suppliers holding prices firm. Steady interest in 0.90 to 3 ct., I-K, VS-SI diamonds. Low polished inventories fueling rough demand. Improved premiums on the secondary rough market during De Beers sight week.
Israel: Dealers optimistic for first-quarter polished sales. Stable trading, but suppliers waiting for post-Christmas restocking by US jewelers. Good demand for 1 ct., G-K, VS-SI diamonds. Rough market busy, with 2% to 3% rise in dealer premiums since beginning of the year. Profit margins improving, with firm prices for polished manufactured from rough bought a few months ago in weak market.
India: Polished market slightly quieter. Far East orders down, since jewelers have already purchased inventory for the Chinese New Year. Prices supported by shortages and steady dealer demand. Strong interest in 0.50 to 2 ct., F-H, VS-SI diamonds. Polished production rising as large volume of new rough enters the market. Good rough demand during De Beers sight.
Hong Kong: Good start to 2018, with rising expectations for Chinese New Year retail season. Chinese jewelers taking more goods on memo. Solid market for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., E-G, VS-SI (3X, no fluorescence) diamonds. D-G, VVS stones selling well. Jewelers pushing themed fashion pieces for Year of the Dog holiday season.