Trading slow as dealers in Belgium and India take long May Day weekend vacation. Good Hong Kong jewelry sales during the holiday, driven by rise in tourist spending. Polished prices stable, with 1 ct. RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) flat in April. US and Chinese retail sentiment positive. Jeweler Tse Sui Luen FY2018 revenue +12% to $486M, profit +97% to $6M. India March polished exports +8% to $2B, rough imports +5% to $1.7B. Israel 1Q polished exports -33% to $1.2B, rough imports -7% to $729M. IBM partners with Warren Buffett’s Helzberg Diamonds and Richline Group on blockchain platform. Industry mourns the passing of jewelers Joseph Samuel Jr. and James Avery.
Fancies: Fancy shapes mixed, with curves better than squares. Ovals hot, followed by Pears and Cushions. Emeralds and Radiants fair. Marquises and Princesses weak. Oversizes selling well. Steady demand for fine-quality 6-10 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: Market steady and polished prices firm. Melee improving, particularly 0.005-0.10 ct., G-H, VS-I1 goods. Ovals and 2-3 ct. cushions doing well. Jewelers hope Mother’s Day promotions will maintain positive momentum from 1Q. Dealers preparing for Las Vegas shows, but some giving up their booths due to high cost.
Belgium: Trading quiet, with businesses closed over long weekend. Activity expected to improve during next week’s Carat+ show. Steady demand for 0.30-0.90 ct. and 1 ct., G-H, VS-SI diamonds. Lower colors in bigger sizes (5 ct.+) also popular as buyers manage with tighter budgets. Selective buyers insisting on triple Ex, no-fluorescence goods, and paying rising premiums for them compared to lower-quality stones.
Israel: Subdued mood in the bourse. Some suppliers participating in next week’s Antwerp Carat+ fair, but general focus on Las Vegas shows. Buyers cautious after seeing prices firm since beginning of the year. Good demand for 1 ct., G-I, VS diamonds. Bidding restrained at rough auctions due to high prices.
India: Polished market slow due to long weekend and spring break. Factory output seasonally lower. Liquidity concerns due to bank caution. Domestic buyers reserved, with rising costs after rupee depreciates -5% since Jan. 1 to INR 1/$66.67. Rough trading stable, with premiums down to around 4% on the secondary market.
Hong Kong: Optimism fades amid sluggish dealer trading. Shift to lower colors. Jewelry retail picking up after positive May 1 holiday sales. Best sellers in 0.30-0.60 ct., J-M, VS-SI range. March sales of jewelry, timepieces and valuable gifts +23%.