Belgium’s Polished Exports Decline

Antwerp: Belgium’s diamond-trade statistics for February made for somber reading, as data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) showed a slowdown in both polished and rough shipments.

Polished exports slid 15 percent year on year to $1.35 billion, with shipments dropping 14 percent by volume to 530,947 carats, according to the data released Monday. The average price of exports fell 2 percent to $2,551 per carat.

Polished exports to Hong Kong fell 11 percent to $607.4 million, with dealers shipping a large quantity of goods to the municipality for the March show that ended on Monday. Exports to the U.S. dropped 11 percent to $253.8 million, while shipments to Israel slid 20 percent to $161.9 million.

Belgium’s total polished imports declined 16 percent to $739.5 million, leaving net polished exports – calculated as exports minus imports – 14 percent lower at $614.8 million.

Rough imports fell 32 percent to $908.2 million, mirroring trends in the broader rough market after De Beers reported a smaller February sight than a year ago. Rough exports declined 15 percent to $1.09 billion, meaning net rough imports amounted to negative $179.9 million versus a positive $53 million a year earlier.

However, Belgium’s February net diamond account, representing total polished and rough exports minus total imports, increased 20 percent to $794.8 million.

In the first two months of the year, polished exports slid 16 percent to $1.99 billion, while polished imports fell 13 percent to $1.62 billion. Rough imports dropped 10 percent to $1.86 billion, with rough exports increasing 2.4 percent to $2.12 billion.