Belgium’s Rough diamond exports during the first quarter of 2007 rose 20.4 per cent to $2.93 billion, according to figures provided by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). By volume, 39.8 million carats were exported, 17.6 per cent more than during the first quarter last year.
Rough diamond imports during the three months rose 21.4 per cent by value, climbing to $2.70 billion, and grew by 19.4 per cent in volume, at 38.5 million carats.
“Clearly we are seeing a continuation and even an acceleration of a trend that has been visible for much of this year,” said Freddy Hanard, the AWDC chief executive officer. “The rough trade, which slowed in 2006, has picked up strongly, most probably compensating for its lower level of activity last year,” he added.
During the first quarter polished diamond exports increased by 4.2 per cent to $2.62 billion, and by 1.3 per cent to 2.36 million carats.
“The fact is that, while rough sales decelerated in 2006, the market for polished diamonds was steady and even increased. Furthermore, there is a clear feeling that strong growth is imminent. Consequently, a market correction should always have been expected,” Hanard stated.
Rough diamond exports grew by 27.7 per cent to $1.03 billion in March 2006, and increased by 18.3 per cent in volume terms to 13.2 million carats. Rough diamond imports this March totalled $966.4 million, an increase of 49.7 per cent compared to 2006. Some 12.6 million carats of rough diamonds were imported in March, 23.1 per cent higher than the corresponding month in 2006.
Polished diamond exports, which equalled $1.01 billion in March, dipped by 2.3 per cent. In volume terms, the decrease was more pronounced, 828,559 carats exported, 10.9 per cent below the 930,293 million carats reported for March last year.
The two markets that showed the greatest increase in polished diamond imports from Belgium in March were the United Arab Emirates and China, which in dollar terms increased their intake by 46.2 per cent and 83.7 per cent respectively.
The US, Belgium’s largest export market, increased its purchases of polished goods from Antwerp by 9.8 per cent. The falloff in exports was mainly a result of lower exports to Japan and the European market, the AWDC said.