U.S. polished diamond imports fell 3.2 percent year on year to $1.77 billion in January, according to provisional government data. Diamond imports by volume declined 14 percent to 912,672 carats. The average price of polished imports, however, increased 12 percent to $1,938 per carat.
Polished diamond exports, meanwhile, dropped 8.9 percent to $1.26 billion, driving net imports up 15 percent to $513 million.
Rough diamond imports more than doubled to $31 million in January, while rough exports grew 50 percent to $18 million, bringing net rough imports higher to $13 million from $2 million a year before. The net diamond account, calculated as total imports minus total exports, increased 17 percent to $526 million.
The news follows a 4-percent decline in polished imports in 2015 as the trade slowed toward the end of the year.