Polished trading slower than expected after Hong Kong show. Shortages supporting prices as manufacturers ramp up polished production. Good demand for dossiers. Lower colors hot in carat sizes. China outlook positive, but Jan.-Feb. retail sales +9.7%, slightly below expectations. Signet Jewelers investing in online and off-mall to restore growth, as shares tumble -20% after FY2018 sales -2% to $6.3B, profit -4% to $519M. Gem Diamonds 2017 revenue +27% to $214M, profit of $21M vs. $140M loss, sells 910 ct., D, type IIa Lesotho Legend for $40M ($43,956/ct.). US Feb. polished imports +3% to $1.8B, polished exports +22% to $1.5B.
Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, Marquises strong, followed by Pears and Cushions. Emeralds and Radiants fair, 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: Dealers optimistic, with steady post-holiday orders. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Curved fancy shapes continue to improve, with strong interest in cushion, modified-brilliant, 1.5 to 2.5 ct. goods. JA show quiet, shifting focus to independent designers and lower-quality jewelry.
Belgium: Slower market. Dealers busy with follow-up after Hong Kong show. Pointer sizes driving demand, with shortages of nice-makes (3X, no-fluorescence) supporting prices. 1 to 2 ct., H-K, VS-SI GIA stones also selling well. Stable rough trading during monthly Alrosa sale.
Israel: Polished trading quiet, with fewer dealers in the bourse. Many traveling to the US to sell, but buyers cautious. Good demand for nice SIs. 3X selling at significant premium to VG. Large stones selling well, spurring demand for “specials” at rough tenders.
India: Polished market relatively slow. Dealers trying to boost sales before financial year’s end on March 31, offering higher discounts for hard-to-move merchandise. Firm prices for new production, particularly 0.30 to 0.50 ct., G-J, VS-SI (3X, no-fluorescence) GIA dossiers. Manufacturing stable after strong rough buying in Jan.-Feb. Liquidity concerns as banks tighten credit to large manufacturers following alleged Nirav Modi-Gitanjali fraud.
Hong Kong: Positive mood, even with trading calmer since the show. Shortage of good-quality VS2-SI2 stones. Shift in demand to lower K-M colors. 3 ct.+ diamonds also selling well. Retail sales steady following Chinese New Year season.