Belgium’s polished diamond exports dropped 9.6 percent year on year to $1.6 billion in February, according to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). By volume, exports dived 16 percent to 615,837 carats, while the average price jumped 7.3 percent to $2,592 per carat.
Compared with the previous month, polished shipments were higher in February as goods are exported to Hong Kong for the March show, implying the spike was seasonality-driven. Exports to the key trading center soared almost fivefold to $684.1 million sequentially in February, but slumped 17 percent year on year. This is typically followed by a peak in polished imports in March as gems return from the fair.
Among Belgium’s other main trading partners, polished exports to the U.S. fell 11 percent from a year ago to $285.9 million. Shipments to Israel slumped 20 percent by volume but enjoyed a modest increase by value.
Total polished imports to Belgium slid 12 percent to $1 billion as net polished exports, representing exports minus imports, increased 6.6 percent to $714.9 million.
Rough imports jumped 28 percent to $1.33 billion and rough exports advanced 21 percent to $1.28 billion. Net rough imports, representing imports minus exports, rose to positive $52.1 million from negative $17.1 million a year before.
Belgium’s February net diamond account, representing total polished and rough exports minus total imports, grew 15 percent to $662.8 million.
During the first two months of the year, polished exports fell 8 percent to $2.37 billion, while polished imports declined 12 percent to $1.87 billion. Rough imports increased 9.6 percent to $2.06 billion and rough exports grew 8.5 percent to $2.07 billion.
Belgium’s net diamond account for the year to date increased 4.8 percent to $511.3 million.