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Far East Demand Slow, Indian Banks Tighten Credit Conditions

Apr 24, 2014 6:00 PM  
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Diamond trading very quiet during Passover and Easter holidays. Far East demand slow ahead of May 1 retail season. U.S. market stable. Good demand for GIA-dossiers with shortages due to grading delays. Liquidity problems developing in India as banks tighten credit conditions. De Beers 1Q production +18% to 7.5M cts. Petra Diamonds 3Q revenue +55% to $164M, production +15% to 743,424 cts. Lazare Kaplan 3Q revenue -6% to $14M. RapNet Melee Index (RMI) +5.4% to 137.6 in 1Q. GIA appoints Matt Crimmin VP of laboratory operations.

Fancies: Fancy shape market doing better with good demand for excellent shaped and polished larger sizes. Buyers are moving to fancy shapes because of significantly high rough prices for identical quality round diamonds. Curves (Pears, Ovals) are doing better than Squares (Emerald, Princess) in larger sizes with squares doing better in under the carat sizes. Far East markets becoming more aware of fancy shapes. Buyers very selective regarding shape- and cut-quality with extreme price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly-cut fancies illiquid and hard to sell even at very deep discounts.

Global Comments:

United States:
Polished diamond trading in New York slowed during the Passover holiday with many businesses resuming operations only on Wednesday after the week-long break. Wholesale trading is stable with steady demand for round, 0.50-carat to 1-carat, F-G, SI- certified goods for the bridal market. There is price resistance among buyers, who are increasingly looking at fancy shapes as a means to meet their tightening budgets. There is some anticipation for the Antwerp Diamond Week scheduled to take place in the Diamond Dealers Club in New York from May 4. Retail jewelry demand is stable with jewelers noting improved demand for large stones and rising self-purchasing by consumers.

Belgium: Rough and polished trading was slow with many businesses closed during the Easter and Passover holidays. Polished suppliers are also facing notable price resistance from buyers. There is stable demand for certified, 0.25-carat to 0.90-carat, G-I, VS-SI diamonds with many manufacturers shifting to other labs to avoid delays at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Rough trading is stable. 

China: Wholesale and retail jewelry activity is relatively quiet. There are rising expectations for steady retail sales during the upcoming May 1 holiday, which is a popular wedding and retail period in China. There is good demand for 0.30-carat to 0.70-carat, D-H, VS-SI, GIA-certified goods with shortages of triple EX stones. There is growing concern that China’s gold consumption may slow with the World Gold Council (WGC) saying it expects demand to stagnate.

Hong Kong: Polished trading was slow as many companies took vacation during the extended Easter weekend. In addition, there were few foreign dealers in the market because of the holidays. There is some expectation that activity will improve as retail jewelers are hoping tourists from mainland China will travel to Hong Kong and stimulate sales during the upcoming May 1 holiday. 

India: Polished trading slowed in the past week with fewer foreign buyers in Mumbai looking for goods. Local buyers are restrained as the rupee continues to be volatile and they are avoiding building up large inventory. Suppliers are facing price pressure from buyers and have shown some willingness to negotiate in order to keep turning stock. Liquidity is tight as the banks have become more conservative in their lending to the industry. There is steady demand for goods below 1-carat and improving demand for 1-carat, 1.30-carat, and 1.70-carat, G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Dealers report a shortage in certified 0.70-carat goods. Rough trading is stable although demand has slowed since the end of March. 

Israel: Trading activity was subdued due to the Passover holiday. Dealers slowly returned to the bourse after the week-long break, cautious that the market might remain slow for the rest of April. The focus is shifting toward the U.S. ahead of the Vegas shows taking place at the end of May. There is steady demand for GIA-certified goods below 1-carat, G-J, VS-SI, but suppliers remain frustrated by the slow turnaround time at the GIA. 

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Diamond trading very quiet during Passover and Easter holidays. Far East demand slow ahead of May 1 retail season. U.S. market stable. Good demand for GIA-dossiers with shortages due to grading delays. Liquidity problems developing in India as banks tighten credit conditions. De Beers 1Q production +18% to 7.5M cts. Petra Diamonds 3Q revenue +55% to $164M, production +15% to 743,424 cts. Lazare Kaplan 3Q revenue -6% to $14M. RapNet Melee Index (RMI)...



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