http://resourceinvestor.com/tag/U.S. PLATINUM JEWELRY IMPORTS RISE 85% YEAR-ON-YEAR IN Q3; FASTEST PACE SINCE Q4 LAST YEAR
The United States imported almost 278 kilograms of platinum jewelry in the third quarter of 2015, up 85% from last year and continuing the strong import growth trend, from 7% in Q1 to 39% in Q2 to 85% this past quarter. Imports of platinum rings surged 94% in Q3, the strongest rate among the jewelry types. Chain imports rose 91% while earrings increased by “just” 6%. Rings accounted for 67% of imports in Q3, slightly higher than 64% a year ago.
U.S. platinum jewelry imports from Thailand surged by 148% to total 18 kilograms in Q3, or 6.5% of total imports. Imports from France rose considerably, by 119%, which was the strongest rise since Q4 last year. France accounted for 36% of total imports in Q3, up from 31% a year ago.
The last quarter of the year typically accounts for the largest portion of annual platinum jewelry imports to the United States.The holiday season is the most significant contributor to annual retail sales It also is a popular time for marriage proposals, which typically is positive for platinum ring demand.
U.S. GOLD JEWELRY IMPORTS RISE 12%YEAR-ON-YEAR IN Q3; 27% INCREASE IN IMPORTS FROM INDIA
Gold jewelry imports to the United States totaled 16,910 kilograms in the third quarter. The 12% rise was driven mainly by increased imports from India, Oman, Thailand and Turkey.
The United States imported 12% more gold jewelry in Q3 than a year ago. While imports from many countries increased, those from China and Italy dropped 1% and 2% respectively. These two countries are the second and third largest sources of U.S. gold jewelry imports. Imports from India rose 27%, the strongest pace since Q1 2014. India is the largest source of U.S. imports, accounting for 20% of the total in Q3 of this year.
Gold prices averaged $1,124/oz in the third quarter, a 12% decline from a year ago. This was the largest annual decrease in quarterly prices since the first quarter of 2014. Meanwhile the value of the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies was 17% higher in the third quarter compared to the previous year’s similar period. The combination of lower gold prices and a stronger dollar has been positive for gold jewelry imports. Additionally, the strengthening U.S. economy, which expanded at a 2.1% rate year-on-year in the period, continued to buoy discretionary spending.
Imports are expected to increase quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of the year. Year-on-year growth is expected to be positive, but it is uncertain that growth would continue at a double-digit pace. So far this season, retail sales have appeared healthy, with a portion of shoppers making holiday purchases earlier compared to last year. The continued popularity of online shopping is a key reason for this spreading out of sales volumes.
U.S. Q3 SILVER JEWELRY IMPORTS INCREASE AT FASTEST PACE THIS YEAR
The United States imported 460,000 kilograms of silver jewelry this past quarter, up 11%. This was the strongest annual increase in 2015 to date and was driven by silver’s price decline to multi-year lows (toward $14/oz) in the period.
Imports from the top three largest sources of silver jewelry rose at double-digit paces; imports from Thailand increased 13% year-on-year, Chinese imports expanded at a 20% rate and Indian imports rose 21% for the period. Imports from Italy, the fourth largest source, were flat year-on-year, however. The lack of growth in Italian imports largely reflects greater cost competition at lower prices from lower cost countries such as the three above.
The gold-silver ratio reached multi-year highs in the third quarter. This increase did not stimulate greater demand for silver in lieu of gold. Instead, declining gold prices resulted in a stronger rate of increase in U.S. gold jewelry imports--12%--in the period compared to silver’s 11% increase.
Silver jewelry is being heavily marketed at an ideal self-gifting item. Many marketing programs in the United States at present focus on young female professionals and retired women, two key target markets presumed more likely to self-purchase. Higher disposable incomes in the U.S. this year relative to last have stimulated increased demand for such self-purchases. The holiday season in Q4 is expected to yield growth in silver jewelry imports, similar to gold, largely due to expectations that consumers will spend more this year than they spent in 2014.