Belgium’s rough trade extended its recovery
Rough exports leapt 23 percent to $530.6 million, while imports jumped 9 percent to $659.2 million, according to data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. This left net rough imports 26 percent higher at $128.6 million.
Outbound polished shipments surged 17 percent to $398.6 million but inbound orders fell 7 percent to $648.2 million. Net polished exports were negative $249.6 million versus negative $353.3 million a year ago, meaning a greater value of polished diamonds entered the country than left it.
By weight, polished exports slid 7 percent to 173,009 carats and imports fell 4 percent to 404,641 carats.
Belgium’s net diamond account for August, representing total polished and rough exports minus total imports, was negative $378.2 million, meaning the country brought in more than it shipped out. This compared with negative $526.7 million a year ago.
The nation’s rough diamond trade slumped in 2015 – with imports down 25 percent and exports sliding 27 percent – but has picked up so far this year. Rough exports by value rose 7 percent to $8.4 billion in the first eight months of 2016, while polished underperformed with an 8 percent drop in exports to $8.1 billion. Polished imports fell 10 percent to $7.95 billion in January to August.
The improvement in the market is in line with an increase in rough trading globally this year. De Beers reported rough sales advanced 11 percent in the first half as demand picked up, while ALROSA’s revenue soared 42 percent.
“Competitiveness demands flexibility, choice and openness – or Antwerp will end up in a no-man’s land between the rising economies of Asia and market-driven North America.”