Stuller Debuts Traceable Melee Supply

Nov 02, 2016 10:33 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT…Diamond manufacturer Stuller said it has become the first supplier in the United States to provide a rare ability to track the journey of melee diamonds through the supply chain.
The company partnered with miner Dominion Diamond Corporation to introduce the CanadaMark goods to the North American market. All diamonds are responsibly mined in Canada’s Northwest Territories, comply with the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct and are natural and untreated, Stuller said.

“Stuller has always carried melee diamonds, but now through the CanadaMark melee program, we’ll be able to offer our customers natural melee that has been tracked from mine to market,” said Stanley Zale, Stuller’s vice-president of diamonds and gemstones. “Because of its size, melee is rarely tracked, so this is a big deal.”

The program will track melee in batches through audited processes at every stage from the country of origin to the polished stone, Zale added.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Nov 3, 2016 10:07 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT… New York diamond and jewelry shows lift trade sentiment with some indications of improving holiday demand. Lower qualities outperforming better-quality, more expensive goods. Chinese demand slow. Hong Kong sentiment weak with reports Chinese trade moving to other industries. India market closed for Diwali. Polished prices softening with Oct. RAPI 1 ct. -2.3%, 0.30 ct. -0.5%, 0.50 ct. -1.6%, 3 ct. +1.2%. Pandora 3Q revenue +18% to $683M, profit +40% to $208M. Hong Kong Jan.-Sep. polished imports -2% to $13.2B, exports +2% to $10.2B. Catoca 2015 revenue -4% to $582M, net profit +1% to $127M. The Rapaport Group wishes all our friends a happy, enlightening Diwali.

Fancies: Fancy-shape market stable. Curved fancy shapes improving. Princess 0.50 to 1 ct. waking up for U.S. holiday season. Large sizes getting some interest, but buyers are extremely picky. Fancy shape prices relatively soft in a buyer’s market. U.S. demand supporting market for small-to-medium size, commercial-quality fancies. (H-J- SI2-I2). Far East fancy demand weak. 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.

United States: New York busy with steady traffic at JA, IWJG and Leuer shows. Israel Diamond Week at NY Diamond Dealers Club active with Israeli suppliers holding prices firm. Steady demand for melee and 0.50 to 0.80 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. 3 ct. relatively firm. 1 ct. soft. Focus shifting to retail ahead of Thanksgiving weekend.

Belgium: Trading quiet with Indian dealers away for Diwali and markets closed for public holiday in Belgium. Dealers focused on filling U.S. holiday orders. Far East and Middle East improving ahead of wedding season. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.60 ct., D-G, VVS-VS diamonds. Weaker demand for commercial-quality 1 ct. G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Rough trading quiet ahead of next week’s De Beers sight.

Israel: Polished trading stable. Focus on U.S. holiday demand with many dealers in New York for Israel Diamond Week. Better-quality 3X diamonds earning significant premiums over medium makes, especially for large stones above 5 ct. Treasury excludes diamond sector from tax reforms required in 2017 at request of Israel Diamond Exchange.

India: Diamond market very quiet with most businesses closed for Diwali. Dealers expected to return by Nov. 14, factories to remain closed until Nov. 21. Reports of steady gold sales during Diwali spurs optimism for wedding season. Rough market slow with manufacturers expected to ramp up production after Diwali.

Hong Kong: Market stable but sentiment weak as improvement during September show not sustained. Chinese buyers cautious with reports of consolidation in dealer market. Hong Kong retailers increasing promotions ahead of Christmas shopping season. Tourist arrivals up but spending down during recent National Day Golden Week.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

NRF Predicts U.S. Holiday Sales to Rise

Oct 10, 2016 9:38 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT…U.S. sales in the upcoming holiday season will increase amid an improvement in jobs and income and stronger consumer sentiment, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecast.

Revenue is expected to rise 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion year on year in November and December, beating the 10-year growth average of 2.5 percent, the NRF said.

“Consumers have seen steady job and income gains throughout the year, resulting in continued confidence and the greater use of credit, which bodes well for more spending throughout the holiday season,” said Jack Kleinhenz, the NRF’s chief economist.

The forecast is based on indicators including consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Oct 13, 2016 11:00 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT… Trading centers quiet over Jewish holidays. U.S. stable with good demand for H-K, SI-I1’s before Christmas selling season. Indian buyers looking for deals with rising expectations for Diwali sales after good monsoon season and lower rupee gold prices (-5%). LVMH 3Q jewelry & watch revenue +2% to $966M. U.S. Aug. net polished imports -1% to $240M. Belgium Sep. polished exports -11% to $1.2B, rough imports +39% to $1.2B. DPA launches generic advertising videos targeting millennials. Rapaport offices will be closed Monday and Tuesday (Oct 17-18) and the Rapaport Price List will not be published next week (Oct. 21) due to Jewish holiday of Succot.

Fancies: Markets slow. Large 5 ct.-plus fine-quality goods getting more interest. Curved fancy shapes improving. Ovals and Pears steady. Square shapes slow. Emeralds selling with improving large-stone demand. Top-quality fine-cut fancy shapes OK but buyers are extremely picky. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1 ct. 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.

United States: Trading sentiment improves forholiday season as DPA launches unconventional video ads focused on millennials who think differently about diamonds and relationships. Steady engagement ring and bridal sales supporting the market. Dealer demand stable but buyers avoiding large inventory purchases. Steady demand for 0.70 to 2 ct., G-J, SI’s.

Belgium: Trading quiet over Jewish holiday period. Dealers focused on filling U.S. pre-season orders. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., H-K, VS-SI’s. Large stones above 3 ct. weak. European luxury demand okay, with France showing weakness. Rough trading stable.

Israel: Short week in Israel due to Yom Kippur holiday. Bourse to close Sunday and Monday (Oct. 16-17) with half-day services over rest of the Succot holiday. Dealers focused on U.S. orders with improving demand for 1 ct., H-K, VS-SI diamonds. Dealers preparing for NY Israel Diamond Week (Oct 31-Nov 1).

India: Market slow with dealers already in festive mode after auspicious Dussehra holiday on Tuesday (Oct. 11). Very few foreign buyers in Mumbai during Jewish holiday period. Polished inventory rising ahead of Diwali break (Nov. 1). Selective good demand with dealers shifting to lower price points. Steady U.S. demand for 0.20 to 0.70 ct., H-K, SI-I2 diamonds. 1 ct. and larger slower. Melee improving, stars remain weak.

Hong Kong: Polished market stable but few buyers from trading centers. Steady demand for 0.30 to 0.50 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds. Millennial consumers focused on affordable price points. Chinese demand stable as retailers preparing for Christmas and Chinese New Year seasons. Hong Kong retail weak, Mainland China improving with encouraging Golden Week sales.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

U.S. Jewelry Prices Stable, Watches Rise

Aug 17, 2016 9:47 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT…The U.S. consumer price index (CPI) for jewelry and watches rose marginally in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The reading edged up 0.7 percent compared with June, the data showed. The CPI was 5 percent higher than its level a year ago.

The July CPI for jewelry was little changed from the previous month and rose 4 percent from a year ago. Watch prices advanced 2 percent sequentially and jumped 8 percent year on year.

The figures come alongside lower diamond prices in July, with the RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds falling 1.7 percent. RAPI for 0.30-carat diamonds slid 1.8 percent and RAPI for 0.50-carat diamonds slipped 0.5 percent. RAPI for 3-carat diamonds retreated 1.5 percent.

However, gold prices climbed throughout the month, advancing 1.5 percent on Comex, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

KP Mulls Using Tech to Eradicate Conflict Diamonds

Aug 22, 2016 8:47 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT…The United Arab Emirates-based chair of the Kimberley Process (KP) has proposed using ‘blockchain’ technology to enhance security and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market.

Blockchain is a list of transactions that take place in a peer-to-peer network. It enables users to share a digital ledger across a network of computers without the need for a central authority to clear transactions, while making it impossible to tamper with records.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the KP chair for 2016(pictured), met with Blockchain technology providers to discuss ways of adapting the tool to the KP Certification Scheme. Blockchain could be “immensely important” to the KP’s future, helping eradicate false certificates and reducing the impact of human error while uploading data, the KP chair’s office said in a mid-year report.

Bin Sulayem’s office is working on a potential pilot project that would use fintech, or financial technology, to monitor KP statistics. An update will be provided at the organization’s plenary meeting in November.

“Adopting Blockchain technology would be a long process requiring a great deal of research,” the report cautioned. “Cost and complexity of implementation would also be significant.”

Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Aug 18, 2016 11:00 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT… Diamond markets quiet and conservative. Buyers selective and price sensitive. Dealers hoping Sept. Hong Kong show will stimulate stronger 4Q polished trading. Chinese consumer confidence stable but Hong Kong luxury continues to slide. Polished suppliers under pressure with rising inventory and tight liquidity. Israel’s FIBI bank raises collateral requirements for diamond loans. Steady demand for 1 to 2.99 ct., D-I, SI1-I2 but VS+ softening. Stars and melee weak with sluggish demand and concerns about synthetics. Titan 1Q sales +4% to $416M, profit -16% to $19M. Gem Diamonds 1H revenue -8% to $109M, loss of $16M vs. profit of $26M. Botswana 2Q rough exports +16% to $980M.

Fancies: Markets slow with some weakening of prices. Ovals and Pears doing well. Cushions supported by specific orders. Emeralds selling with improving large-stone demand. Princess and Hearts slow. Top quality fine-cut fancy shapes OK but buyers are extremely picky. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1 ct. 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.

United States: Slight trading improvement but polished buyers in summer mode.Demand selectivewith lower prices spurring buyer interest. Retail sales uneven with growth driven by higher average prices rather than increased volume. Independents assessing inventory requirements for holiday season. Consumer sentiment stable.

Belgium: Market quiet with bourse services closed until August 22.

Israel: Very little activity with the Israel Diamond Exchange closed for summer vacation until August 28. Industry financing under scrutiny after First International Bank of Israel (FIBI) tightened collateral requirements on diamond industry loans.

India: Slow trading and weak sentiment. Dealers preparing for Hong Kong show. Polished inventory levels high as manufacturing continues but demand slowed in the past few months. Steady demand for commercial-quality, SI2-I2 diamonds. Other areas weak. Slow domestic demand for stars and melee. Rough market stable with lower volumes traded and Russian goods selling at steady premiums during monthly ALROSA sale.

Hong Kong: Polished trading sluggish with some improvement as dealers prepare for the September show. Smaller suppliers discounting to maintain liquidity. Difficult for medium-size companies to compete. Buyers selective and price sensitive. Jewelry retailers struggling with high gold prices and weak consumer demand.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

U.S. Polished Diamond Exports Leap in February

Apr 14, 2016 3:35 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT… The U.S. trade in polished diamonds showed an uptick in February as exports jumped 10 percent, while imports were steady.

Imports of cut diamonds nudged up 0.3 percent year on year to $1.75 billion, with the average price rising 4.6 percent to $2,273 per carat. Inbound shipments by weight fell 4 percent versus last year to 771,619 carats, according to provisional government data.

Polished diamond exports, meanwhile, jumped 10 percent to $1.97 billion despite a decrease in total volume as the average price per carat soared 39 percent to $1,537 per carat. Net polished imports dived to negative $214 million from negative $37 million mainly as a result of a year-on-year increase in exports to Hong Kong. February is typically a strong month for polished exports because of the jewelry shows taking place in the municipality in March.

Rough diamond imports almost tripled to $44.3 million and rough exports surged more than fourfold to $22 million, meaning net rough imports were $22 million compared with $10 million a year ago.

The February net diamond account, reflecting the difference between net imports and exports, declined to negative $192 million from negative $27 million 12 months earlier.

During the first two months of the year, polished diamonds imports fell 1.5 percent to $3.52 billion and polished exports climbed 1.9 percent to $3.22 billion, resulting in net imports slumping 27 percent to $299 million.

U.S. Jewelry Store Revenues Hit High in February

Feb 21, 2016  AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT…U.S. jewelry store sales in a seasonally-strong February surpassed the highest level the month has seen in years as shoppers ploughed $2.66 billion in specialist retailers.

Sales in the month that includes Valentine’s Day jumped 7.7 percent from a year ago, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, validating an upward trend seen in an earlier data release that showed a 4.5-percent rise in jewelry and watch revenues across all retail outlets in February.

The figure for specialty jewelry sellers, unadjusted for seasonality and trading-day differences, is the highest since November 2013 for any month other than December, which consistently records the highest sales of the year because of Christmas, and May, which is propped up by Mother’s Day. It is also the second-highest monthly figure other than December or May since at least as far back as January 2009.

Jewelry stores data, which lags general U.S. retail figures by a month, came as the Census Bureau reported a 0.3 percent dip in retail and food services sales to a seasonally-adjusted $446.9 billion in March. Revenues in the first quarter rose 2.8 percent.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.

Rapaport Weekly Market Comment

Apr 14, 2016 11:00 AM By Rapaport News
RAPAPORT… Rounds: Rough markets firm as De Beers sells $660M in sales cycle 3 (April) following $617M in cycle 2 (Feb.) Steady mid-single-digit premiums for many De Beers boxes. Dealers speculating on over-priced big stone rough but demand for larger polished is weak. Polished markets slowing. China clamping down on overseas luxury purchases with 15% tax on jewelry imports by “daigou” tourist shoppers and online buyers. Chow Tai Fook 3Q sales -26% impacted by Chinese tourists moving purchases overseas. LVMH 1Q watch & jewelry revenue +7% to $884M. Dominion 2015 revenue -21% to $721M, loss of $34M vs. profit of $67M. U.S. Feb. polished imports +0.3% to $1.8B, polished exports +10% to $2B.

Fancies: Ovals doing well and cushions have cooled off. Emeralds selling. Princess and Hearts slow. Top quality fine-cut fancy shapes OK but buyers are extremely picky. Overall fancy shape prices relatively soft. U.S. demand supporting market for commercial-quality fancies, especially for sizes under 1 ct. 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.
United States: Polished trading slows in April. Steady demand for bread-and-butter 0.30 to 1.99 ct., G-J, SI-I2 diamonds. Suppliers holding prices firm while buyers find it difficult to fill specific orders. Very little inventory buying. Fancy shapes quiet with shortage of better-quality large stones. General retail stable with slight slowdown in consumer spending reported in March. Steady 5% growth at specialty jewelry stores in Jan.-Feb., according to government data.
Belgium: The market is stable. Good dealer demand for specialty items such as fancy color and certain fancy shape diamonds. Pears and ovals steady, cushions slower and princess cuts weak. General trading driven by U.S. demand for 0.30 to 1 ct., G-J, VS-SI diamonds.Rough market active with good demand and mid-single-digit premiums for De Beers boxes on the secondary market. Demand for ALROSA supply weaker.
Israel: Polished trading cautious amid tough market for large diamonds. Sluggish activity in April with dealers ready to take vacation during 7-day Passover holiday (April 22-28). Trading focused on U.S. market. Far East demand cautious with reports Israelis downsizing Hong Kong operations. Rough trading steady for commercial-quality goods but concern about high prices of large-stone rough.
India: Trading slowed in the past two weeks after positive first quarter. Buyers resisting higher prices for new polished supply. Good Far East demand for GIA dossiers with some shortages in RapSpec A2 diamonds. U.S. demand stable. Domestic Indian demand cautious. Jewelry retailers end strike ahead of popular gold buying season. Rough trading steady with De Beers boxes selling at mid-single-digit premiums on the secondary market.

Hong Kong: Polished demand is order specific and there is very little buying for inventory. Fancy colors doing better than colorless stones with good demand for rare pink and blue diamonds. China is stronger than Hong Kong and Macau. Outbound tourism to Japan, South Korea and Europe affecting local jewelers in Greater China. Chinese government raising import taxes to encourage local jewelry and watch consumption.

Used with permission of Rapaport USA, Inc. Copyright © Martin Rapaport.  All rights reserved.