Friday, July 29, 2011

Miners Report Record 1H, High Prices Comp for Lower Volume

Global Markets

United States:
The traditionally quiet summer season continued as many wholesalers took vacations in July, but trading activity still showed gains over last year. Confidence remains that the end-of-year Christmas season will be solid despite deep concerns about a possible U.S. debt default in early August. Retail sales are dominated by bridal goods as consumers continue to hold back spending on quality fashion jewelry through the recovery. Retailers report that round, 1.5-carat to 2-carat, H-J, SI1 stones are the most popular items.

Dealers have been pushing to close deals ahead of the August summer break while overall trading is relatively quiet but stable. The Antwerp bourses are scheduled to close for three weeks next week and will reopen in late August. There is strong demand for good quality, very small diamonds, in VS+ clarities, driven by demand from luxury jewelers using these stones in other products such as watches. Rough trading is stable following the price increases implemented earlier in the month.

Trading continues to be relatively quiet with the approach of the summer break. The bourse officially closes from August 2 to August 22. Polished dealers remain upbeat and confident for a strong second half of the year, beginning after the break. Growth in demand is being driven by Far East markets and is focused on VS2-SI1 stones. Rough traders have grown cautious following the recent price hikes.

A sense of normalcy has returned to Mumbai following the explosions which hit two weeks ago. Many are focused on preparing for the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) that starts on August 4. Expectations are high for the show as confidence is growing for a strong Diwali season in November. Current trading is down slightly as sellers appear to be willing to negotiate on price and are waiting to assess price trends at the show. Demand is stable for traditional Indian small items of star and melee, SI and pique stones, and for 0.3-carat to 3.00-carat stones. Rough trading has grown slightly more cautious following the July price increases.

Wholesale demand is stable but quiet through the summer season and as many buyers have grown cautious about high polished price levels. Similarly, retailers have experienced a seasonally slower period but report growth over the same period last year. Most appear confident that the market will pick up again in late August leading to a strong October Golden Week season.

Hong Kong:
The relative summer quiet continues with some growth over last year driven by tourists from mainland China. Trading is expected to pick up toward mid-August as dealers start to prepare for the September Hong Kong show. Carat sizes remain the mainstay items despite growing price resistance from buyers. There is some downsizing and lowering of color and clarity to move to more affordable price points.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Your Birth Stone for Month of August

August Birthstone

The name Peridot comes from the Arabic word "faridat," meaning gem. Ancient Egyptians called them the "gem of the sun," because of their dazzling brilliance when seen in the desert sun. It was believed that the Peridot glowed with light even as darkness fell, which is why miners were said to have scouted for these gems during the night, marking their location, and returning in the light of day to retrieve them. Perhaps this legendary mining method is the reason that the Peridot is sometimes called "evening emerald."

Peridot is a mineral named Olivine, which is found in a variety of greens, ranging from light yellowish green to a dark olive. Early mining for this gem was done on Saint John's Island near Egypt around 1500 BC. The green crystal was considered protective against evil and when set in gold, especially helpful against night terrors. It was ground to powder and used as a remedy for asthma and as a cure for thirst brought on by fever. Today, Peridot is mined in Burma, Norway, Brazil, Australia, Hawaii, the Congo, and in Arizona.

Alternate August Birthstone
An alternate birthstone for August, Sardonyx is a type of translucent or opaque quartz with alternating parallel bands of brownish red and white. This stone was worn as a talisman by the Egyptians to protect against infections and evil. Today it is highly polished and carved into beautiful beads and cameos. Sardonyx is mined in India, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Brazil and Uruguay. A gift of this stone is considered symbolic of happiness within a relationship.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cost remains a big issue amid a $US1600oz gold price

Cost remains a big issue amid a $US1600oz gold price

THE gold sector's production "league ladders" are rather like those surveys on investment banks' deal-share, or newspaper circulation audits: they're open to interpretation and you'll never hear the last word on them.

In this cautious vein, we report Resolute Mining's (RSG, $1.35) claim that it will this year emerge as the second-biggest listed miner behind (undisputed) sector-titan Newcrest Mining (NCM, $40.96).

The Thai-centric Kingsgate Mining, the enlarged Alacer (the old Avoca) and the to-be merged Conquest Mining and Catalpa all have reasonable dibs on gold's silver medal status as well.

We guess no one should really care on who's bigger than who - most of us quit pissing contests after junior school - but the point is that output is ramping up to some serious numbers and economies of scale are emerging.

The even more pertinent point is whether the production will finally be reflected in some serious profits.

21 July 2011