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Sentiment Improves Slightly But Cutters Losing Money on Expensive Rough

Apr 30, 2015 6:00 PM  
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Diamond market sentiment improving slightly as prices stabilize, but cutters still losing money on overpriced rough. Shortages developing with very low trading volume and reduced manufacturing activity. Good U.S. demand for commercial-quality diamonds. Lower gold prices raise expectations for good jewelry sales during China’s May Day holiday. Rough markets quiet as sightholders expect reduced prices at next week’s De Beers sight. U.S. March jewelry retail sales -2 % to $4.8B, watch sales -3% to $630M. India’s March polished exports -10% to $1.8B, polished imports -37% to $500M, rough imports +3% to $1.5B.

Fancies: Ovals hot, Princess not. Cushions steady, Pears improving, Hearts slow. Good demand and firm prices for very large, top quality fancy shapes. Prices for curves improving slightly. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under the carat. Larger sizes stable. Far East fancy demand weak. Buyers are very selective and insisting on excellent-shape proportions. Significant price differentials between excellent- and average-cut fancies. Off-make, poorly-cut fancies illiquid and very hard to sell, even at very deep discounts.

Global Comments


United States: Trading is slow with many Israeli dealers in New York looking to sell goods. Buyers are cautious amid uncertainty about polished price trends and the general economic environment, especially after the Commerce Department reported that first quarter economic growth was basically flat. Retail sales are steady with larger jewelry store chains pushing hard to promote Mother's Day sales in a tight market. There is steady diamond demand from the large, high-end jewelry retailers. In fancy shapes, ovals are moving well, while princess cuts are slow.

Belgium: Sentiment is improving in Antwerp despite the overall difficult trading environment. There is good demand for 0.20-carat to 0.50-carat, F-H, SI diamonds. There are reported shortages of 1-carat to 3-carat, D-F, VVS-SI, triple EX goods due to reduced manufacturing in recent months. Demand has improved for 5-carat to 7-carat, D-F, VVS-VS diamonds. Rough trading has declined as there are fewer goods in the market. Manufacturers have reduced their operations and are hesitant to buy rough beyond their minimal operating requirements.

Hong Kong: The market has improved slightly but continues to be relatively quiet. Dealer sentiment is negative as some local jewelers have refused to take goods on memo due to weak consumer demand. There is steady demand for 1-carat, I-M, VS-SI diamonds while demand for H and better color diamonds is weak. Demand for 5-carat and larger diamonds is slow amid tight liquidity and the ongoing anti-corruption campaign in Mainland China. Hong Kong jewelry retailers continue to struggle as Chinese tourists opt for other shopping destinations.

India: Trading volume is low in Mumbai as the market remains in vacation mode. There is steady demand but buyers are very selective and looking for clean goods with no black marks. Polished suppliers are holding their prices firm but are willing to sell to price-conscious buyers in an effort to raise liquidity. There is good demand for round, 0.50-carat to 2-carat, D-I, VS-SI, triple EX diamonds. In fancy shapes, there is good demand for cushions and ovals in most sizes. Rough trading is weak while manufacturers continue to operate at very low profit margins. Some manufacturers plan to close their factories during part of the current vacation period that concludes at the end of May. Rough trading is weak ahead of next week’s De Beers sight.

Israel: The market is stable but trading volume is low in the bourse. U.S. demand for better-quality diamonds has improved, while there has also been a slight improvement in Far East demand. There is good demand for 0.30-carat to 0.49-carat, D-I, IF-VVS diamonds, and stable demand for 0.50-carat to 0.90-carat goods in the same qualities. There are reported shortages of below 1.50-carat, fine-cut diamonds due to reduced manufacturing. Pear and oval shapes are moving well and nice-make fancy shapes are in short supply. Manufacturers and dealers note that it is better to buy polished than to manufacture rough at current rough prices.
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Market Report Read Full Report
Diamond market sentiment improving slightly as prices stabilize, but cutters still losing money on overpriced rough. Shortages developing with very low trading volume and reduced manufacturing activity. Good U.S. demand for commercial-quality diamonds. Lower gold prices raise expectations for good jewelry sales during China’s May Day holiday. Rough markets quiet as sightholders expect reduced prices at next week’s De Beers sight. U.S. March jewelry retail...






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