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Weaker Market, High Rough Prices Slow Cutting Center Demand

Apr 17, 2014 6:00 PM  
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Polished trading quiet due to holidays. Cutting center demand slows with weaker market conditions and high rough prices. ALROSA 2013 production +7% to 37M cts., revenue +12% to $4.7B, profit -5% to $885M. Rio Tinto 1Q production +13% to 3.7M cts. Luk Fook 4Q same-store sales -10%. Christie's NY jewels sale achieves $61M (82% sold by lot) with 22.60ct. & 22.31ct. D, IF pair of circular-cut diamonds selling for $191K per/ct. and a 6.10ct., VVS1 fancy intense-pink rectangular-cut diamond selling for $5.8M or $945K per/ct.  U.S. jewelry store sales +4% to $3B in Feb. U.S. jewelry price inflation -3% in March. THE RAPAPORT PRICE LIST WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED ON APRIL 18 DUE TO THE JEWISH HOLIDAY OF PASSOVER.

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:
Sentiment in the jewelry retail sector is positive as stores register improved, albeit slight, gains over last year. However, there is some consumer caution and retailers don’t expect discretionary spending to significantly increase during the upcoming Easter holiday. Polished trading is likewise stable with buyers trying to resist attempts from overseas suppliers to raise prices. There is a sense that U.S. buyers are lagging behind the East in adapting to recent price increases. Overall, the polished market is stable with good demand for SI and lower clarity goods.

Belgium: Trading in Antwerp was slower than usual as many dealers and a lot of goods were at the shows in Basel and Freiburg. The polished market is stable but has slowed since the March Hong Kong show. Buyers are looking for goods to fill orders and very few are buying for inventory at the moment. There is good demand for VS-SI goods and triple EX-cut diamonds continue to garner notable premiums. Rough trading on the secondary market slowed during the De Beers sight week.

China: Retail jewelry demand is seasonally slow after the Chinese New Year Spring festival. There are some expectations that retail sales will improve ahead of the May 1 Labor Day holiday but consumer demand is relatively cautious. There is steady demand for 0.30-carat to 1.10-carat, F-J, VS-SI goods and strong wholesale demand for 0.30-carat to 0.40-carat, G-J, SI stones.

Hong Kong: Polished trading is stable but has slowed since the March show. Far East demand has quieted slightly but is still relatively upbeat compared with last year. Suppliers note that it’s easier to sell in the manufacturing centers. Chinese demand is steady but specific, with good demand for 0.30-carat to 0.60-carat, H-J, VS-SI goods.

India: The polished market has slowed slightly. The recent strengthening of the rupee has influenced restraint among local buyers who expect further exchange rate volatility during the coming election month. There were also fewer foreign buyers in the market as the focus shifted to Basel and the coming Diamond Week in Israel. There is steady demand for GIA dossiers but dealers note that there is a shortage of 0.30-carat to 0.40-carat goods due to the backlog at the GIA. Liquidity has tightened and there are rising concerns about pending bank defaults. Small-to-mid sized cutters are maintaining lower levels of manufacturing. Rough trading slowed after De Beers raised prices at its April sight this past week.

Israel: The polished market is steady. Many suppliers traveled to the Basel and Freiburg shows noting that there was good European demand for large size, fine-quality diamonds and well-made fancy shapes. There is rising expectation for the U.S. and International Diamond Week taking place in the bourse next week, largely as Israeli dealers look for goods before the Passover break. Rough trading slowed slightly after De Beers raised prices at the April sight. 
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Polished trading quiet due to holidays. Cutting center demand slows with weaker market conditions and high rough prices. ALROSA 2013 production +7% to 37M cts., revenue +12% to $4.7B, profit -5% to $885M. Rio Tinto 1Q production +13% to 3.7M cts. Luk Fook 4Q same-store sales -10%. Christie's NY jewels sale achieves $61M (82% sold by lot) with 22.60ct. & 22.31ct. D, IF pair of circular-cut diamonds selling for $191K per/ct. and...



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