rapaport

Market Comment

December 15, 2022

News: Mixed sentiment ahead of final shopping weekend before Christmas. Retailers anticipate strong Super Saturday (Dec. 17) traffic as consumers make last-minute purchases. Mastercard reports US jewelry sales -3.9% in Nov., but category well above pre-pandemic levels. China slow but optimism rises for release of pent-up demand after zero-Covid policy lifted in time for peak season. Dealers are being conservative as jewelers are selective and waiting for New Year to buy inventory. Rough market quiet. Petra Diamonds Dec. tender sales -67% to $42M, prices +2.2% vs. Nov. De Beers plans 2023 production of 30M to 33M cts. vs. 34M cts. this year; expected to raise supply to Botswana factories.

Fancies: Fashion driving demand for elongated Ovals, Emeralds and Radiants. Goods with medium and short ratios are weak and declining in value. Slow market for 0.30 to 1.20 ct. diamonds. 1.25 ct. and larger, F-J, VS-SI categories stable. Supply shortages of well-cut fancies supporting prices. Oval is leading shape, followed by Radiant, Emerald, Pear, Cushion and Marquise. Retailers offering broader product ranges as consumers seek alternative cuts. Excellent shapes commanding premiums. Oversizes trading at higher prices than usual. Off-make, poorly cut fancies illiquid and difficult to sell.

United States: 

Mood positive amid steady holiday orders. Retail below 2021 levels, but jewelers satisfied with business and wary of building up inventory in uncertain economic environment. Strong memo calls and subsequent sell-through. Buyers seeing opportunities to get better deals on bulk and cash orders. Elongated fancies doing well. Melee prices firm. Demand down for 1.25 to 1.99 ct., D-F, IF-VVS goods.

Belgium: 

European market quiet, especially for 1 ct. and larger stones. Luxury brands driving orders and insisting on source verification following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Buyers selective and avoiding large inventory orders as prices continue to decline. Rough market slow after subdued De Beers sight.

Israel: 

Cautious trading as orders taper off. Some last-minute demand ahead of Christmas. Dealers holding back from buying due to concerns that prices will keep dropping. Some dealers traveling to source goods in India but struggling to find the bargains they hoped for. Smaller goods up to 0.30 ct. stabilizing; above 1 ct. weak for this time of year.

India: 

Sentiment low amid sluggish US and Far East demand. Chinese orders still slow despite Beijing’s reversal of “zero Covid” policy. Polished production well below capacity as profitable rough proves hard to find. Some cutting firms struggling due to shortage of suitable material for producing melee. Stable movement in 0.30 to 0.49 ct., IF-VVS2, 3X, no-fluorescence goods. Wedding season supporting local jewelry market.

Hong Kong: 

Holiday demand and China’s reopening are boosting local sentiment. Hong Kong preparing for increase in tourists as mainland quarantine rules ease. Optimism rising for Chinese sales ahead of January 22 Lunar New Year. Steady demand for 0.30 ct., D-J, VS-SI2, 3X diamonds. Fancy shapes improving.

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