Antwerp: The figures from the first half of 2015 show that the Antwerp diamond industry traded fewer rough diamonds from January through June in comparison to last year. The trade figures for polished diamonds paint a more positive picture.
Rough diamond trade:
The trade figures for rough diamonds are in line with the figures from the first quarter of 2015. Exports as well as imports of rough diamonds declined with respect to last year. On the import side, we note a decline of 10% in carats and 19% in USD. Exports of rough diamonds declined 15% in volume and 21% in value in comparison with the first six months of 2014. From January through June, 45.9 million carats of rough diamonds were imported at a value of 6.4 billion USD, while 49.9 million carats were exported at a value of 6.4 billion USD.
The price of rough diamonds remains high worldwide, despite the slight price decrease implemented by the major mining companies, while prices for polished diamonds were very low; global demand for polished diamonds also declined. The difference in price between rough and polished is so small that profit margins for diamond manufacturers are under tremendous pressure. For these reasons, we note a global trend toward fewer purchases of rough diamonds. This trend is consistent with other diamond trade hubs such as Dubai, Mumbai and Tel Aviv.
Polished diamond trade:
In contrast to rough diamond trade, polished trade remains relatively stable in comparison to the first half of 2014. In terms of volume, 1.69% fewer polished diamonds were exported and 0.05% fewer were imported. In terms of value we note a decline of 3.59% on the export side and 3.58% on the import side. During the first six months of 2015, 3.6 million carats of polished diamonds were imported at a value of 7.1 billion USD, while 3.2 million carats were exported at a value of 7.3 billion USD.
Imports and exports of polished diamonds with important trade partners such as Hong Kong and the U.A.E. remained positive. While we see that trade with Hong Kong has increased in volume, we note that this is inconsistent with the value of the traded goods. This indicates that lower quality goods were imported and exported. We also notice this in the overall consumer demand, as consumers are looking for more affordable diamond jewelry containing lower carat content.