Antwerp rough diamond trade increases again in April
The Antwerp rough diamond trade is gradually recovering after a downturn in 2015. According to the April trade figures published by Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the rough trade surged 32% in value and 39% in volume compared to April 2015. The polished diamond trade faced more headwinds, declining slightly as compared to April last year. Additionally, we note that the United States imported and exported fewer yet more valuable diamonds, while the United Arab Emirates displayed the opposite trend.
Last month, Antwerp imported and exported nearly 18.75 million carats of rough diamonds worth $2.5 billion. Compared to the figures from April 2015, we see that exports of rough diamonds increased nearly 30% in volume as well as value. On the import side, we note no less than a 50% increase in volume and a 34% rise in value. Compared to March 2016, the value of the rough trade in April increased 19% (+ $390.6 million), with 4% more rough diamonds traded.
A total of $1.8 billion in polished diamonds were traded in Antwerp in April. Last month, the polished diamond trade was clearly exceeded by the rough diamond trade. The volume of imported polished diamonds rose 1.5%, but declined 7.5% in value compared to April 2015. Exports of polished diamonds fell 6% in volume and 13.6% in value as compared to a year prior.
We also point out a noteworthy trend on the polished diamond market: while the volume of imported polished diamonds from the United States declined by 22%, their value actually increased 14%. The same trend is repeated on the export side. This clearly shows that Antwerp and the United States are mainly trading in high-value stones. On the other hand, we note the opposite when it comes to the polished diamond trade with United Arab Emirates. Imports from UAE increased 100% in volume as compared to April 2015, and yet the value of that trade declined 11% in value. This is confirmed on the export side of the equation, as a 1% decline in volume resulted in a 24% decline in value. This leads us to conclude that trade with UAE currently involves large volumes of less valuable stones.
AWDC spokeswoman Margaux Donckier: "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. Antwerp is clearly the preferred global marketplace and bellwether of the industry, so if one wishes to know how the diamond industry is performing, look no further than Antwerp. Accordingly, we remain hopeful that the industry as a whole continues to achieve positive results."