China’s 2015 Polished Diamond Imports -14%

Beijing: China’s polished diamond imports declined 14 percent to $6.69 billion last year as the nation’s economy slowed and consumer sentiment dropped.

The country’s imports of polished fell in each of the first three quarters of 2015 from corresponding periods in the previous year, but picked up slightly in the final quarter, according to data released by the China Customs Information Center.

The news comes after a similar-sized decrease in polished imports into Hong Kong in 2015. Jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook, whose Chinese New Year sales this year slid 29 percent, blamed weakening consumer sentiment and the nation’s economic slowdown on reduced sales and said Chinese people were travelling outside of the country rather than shopping in their home nation.

By volume, polished imports into China dropped 17 percent to 7.6 million carats, with the average price increasing 3.7 percent to $883 per carat.

Polished exports fell 21 percent to $2.14 billion, leaving net polished imports down 10 percent to $4.55 billion.

Rough imports slumped 45 percent to $764 million and rough exports dived 50 percent to $27 million, meaning net rough imports were 36 percent lower at $1.77 billion.

The country’s 2015 net diamond account slid 17 percent to positive $5.29 billion from positive $6.4 billion a year earlier.