The Antwerp rough diamond trade showed significant improvements in export and import, although polished trade continued to show weakness according to recently released figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
Rough diamond imports in April saw significant improvement, increasing 34.04 percent by value and 49.91 percent by volume. In the January to April period, imports of rough saw a 13.13-percent increase to 34.8 million carats.
During April, Antwerp exported 9.526 million carats of rough diamonds – a 29.66-percent increase compared to the 7.35 million carats exported in April 2015. From January to April this year, 40.6 million carats of rough diamonds were exported – a 23-percent increase over the same period a year previously. Rough exports by value in April also increased, rising by 6.4 percent compared to the same period in 2015.
Antwerp’s April polished diamond figures showed a year-over-year decline. By value, polished diamond exports fell 13.6 percent to $899 million compared to $1.04 billion in April 2015.
In the January to April period, polished exports by volume fell 10.17 percent to 1.956 million carats compared to 2.178 million over the same period in 2015. Exports by value in the same period dropped to $4.428 billion compared to $4.849 billion in the January to April period of 2015 – an 8.67-percent decrease.
Polished diamond imports showed a small increase of 1.55 percent by volume to 529,000 carats, but declined by 7.48 percent by value to $874 million compared to $944 million in April 2015.
In the January to April period of 2016, polished imports by value declined to $4.310 billion compared to $4.872 billion in the same period a year previously – an 11.53-percent decrease. By volume, imports declined 13.26 percent in the January to April period to 2.2 million carats compared to 2.5 million carats over the same period in 2015.
The volume of stones imported from the US declined by 22 percent, although their value saw a 14-percent increase, showing that the trade is focused on high-value stones.
Trade with the United Arab Emirates highlighted a different picture – imports of polished diamonds saw a 100-percent increase compared to April 2015, but there was an 11-percent decline in value.
"While we are certainly heeding the cautionary warnings about strong rough sales from the major miners and overly optimistic purchases from the middle of the pipeline, and are therefore not jumping to the conclusion that a full-blown diamond-industry recovery is underway, the results we have seen over the past few months are certainly cause for optimism,” said AWCD spokeswoman Margaux Donckier.