Market quiet after positive first quarter. Indian manufacturers facing liquidity squeeze as banks tighten credit after $2B Nirav Modi-Gitanjali fraud. Dealers still optimistic, with good US and China orders. Large independent jewelers doing better than majors as Signet and Tiffany announce turnaround strategies. Tiffany 4Q sales +9% to $1.3B, disappointing profit -61% to $62M. Smaller and shorter Basel show lacks big-stone buzz, with many diamond companies not attending. Swiss watch recovery continues as Feb. exports +13% to $1.8B. Rough market stable. Alrosa 2017 revenue -12% to $4.7B, profit -41% to $1.4B. India Feb. polished exports +1% to $2.4B, rough imports +11% to $1.7B.
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: Positive retail sentiment, with independents noting steady store traffic and sales. Bridal strong ahead of summer wedding season. Diamond market stable, but heavy snowstorms limit New York trading. Good demand for 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. New York Diamond Dealers Club hosts Chinese delegation to boost trading with Shanghai Diamond Exchange.
Belgium: Quiet market, with fewer foreign buyers in Antwerp. Dealers satisfied with first-quarter sales, anticipating slowdown after Hong Kong show. Steady demand and firm prices for 1 to 2 ct., G-J, VS-SI, 3X to 3VG stones. D- to F-colors hard to sell. Rough trading stable.
Israel: Polished trading slow, with little appetite for goods. Dealers slipping into vacation mode ahead of seven-day Passover holiday (March 31 to April 6). Prices remain steady. Shortage of 3 ct. and larger round and fancy shape diamonds. Large-stone demand solid, but fewer suppliers attending Basel show.
India: Large manufacturers cautious as banks adopt stricter lending terms following $2B Nirav Modi-Gitanjali fraud. Factories increasing production to fill polished shortages. Rough expensive after strong buying in first quarter. Long gap before April sight. Good demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Stars and melee also selling well.
Hong Kong: Polished market quiet since the March show. Dealers unfazed by lull after positive Chinese New Year season. China’s gold, silver and jewelry sales +3% in Jan.-Feb. Improving interest in 1 to 3 ct., J-M, VS-SI diamonds. Better colors weaker in all sizes.