rapaport

Market Comment

August 24, 2023

News: Liquidity improving due to strong sales in India at lower prices. Dealers grabbing bargains and hoping market won’t fall much further. US retail uncertain, with fancies selling better than rounds. Macy’s reports faster-than-expected rise in credit card defaults. Hong Kong dealers confident Chinese jewelers will buy at Sept. 18-24 show, since demand has built up. India July polished exports -39% to $1.2B, rough imports -44% to $1.1B. Israel July polished exports -31% to $204M, rough imports -46% to $106M. Letšeng 1H sales -28% to $72M, average price -21% to $1,373/ct. Wildfires threaten workforce at Canadian mines. Lucara finds 692ct. rough at Karowe. 

Fancies: Fancy-shape market slower than before. Prices dropping, but less sharply than for rounds. Longer Ovals, Pears, Radiants and Cushions bringing higher prices than shorter stones. Goods with medium and short ratios weak. Prices of square Cushions falling amid low demand and high inventories. Marquise prices holding up following drop in supply. 0.30 ct. doing well. Orders low for 0.70 to 1.20 ct. diamonds. VS-SI losing strength, except in 1.20 to 1.49 ct. Well-cut stones seeing shortages. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: 

Dealers optimistic that downturn may be endingand market might improve during holiday season, but sales likely to occur later than usual. Some retailers buying for stock, though memo remains most common method of acquiring goods. Fancy shapes in demand, with emerald-cut, 3 ct. and larger, I-J, VS1-SI2 diamonds selling well. Lab-grown taking market share but plummeting in value.

Belgium: 

Industry on vacation. Markets to reopen next week, but most traders will only return in September. Companies that deal in commercial goods have gloomy outlook due to impact of synthetics on natural demand. Large-stone suppliers more optimistic.

Israel: 

Bourse quiet. Dealers traveling to India are getting great bargains (metziahs) from sellers keen to close deals. Traders believe market has bottomed out and are confident orders will improve ahead of holiday season.

India: 

Trading slow. Fancies doing better than rounds, but market for ovals weakening as higher production increases supply. US orders sluggish as consumers shift to lab-grown diamonds. Overall manufacturing levels low. Chinese demand has yet to recover fully, but many hope for positive Hong Kong show (Sept. 18-24). Domestic jewelry sales supporting demand for polished under 1 ct.

Hong Kong: 

Market focusing on September show. Exhibitors looking to clear inventories are hoping for release of pent-up demand, since Chinese jewelers haven’t bought for months. Trading currently slow; mainland customers waiting to compare prices at the show. Some jewelry manufacturers receiving orders from retailers as preparations for year-end sales begin.

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