Botswana’s rough-diamond exports declined 14% to $3.48 billion in 2017, according to data released by the Bank of Botswana.
After rising slightly in the first quarter, exports dropped 18% year on year in the second quarter, slid 21% in the third quarter and fell 20% in the fourth.
Much of the overall decline reflects a slowdown in De Beers’ total rough sales, which fell 5% to an estimated $5.31 billion last year. Debswana, the company’s diamond-mining joint venture with the Botswana government, accounts for a large portion of Botswana’s total exports.
De Beers’ sales drop was due to a lower average price, as manufacturers sought smaller, lower-value rough. Demand for those goods was initially weak following India’s demonetization policy in late 2016, but buyers returned at the start of 2017.