Antwerp's diamond trade experienced modest and mixed results in April: the volume of rough diamond exports stayed flat for the month while rough imports were down mainly as a result of De Beers not holding a sight in April. Volume declines were also recorded for imports as well as exports of polished goods, in part due to the spring holiday season around the world, though the average value of imports outweighed the fall in volume and ended up slightly on a year-over-year basis. The volume of rough exports from Antwerp fell by a single percentage point year-over-year to 9.4 million carats, while the dollar value of rough exports tumbled 29% to $903K as old stock was still being moved. Meanwhile, rough imports were down 39% in volume compared to the same month a year earlier and compared to March 2017, falling to 5.6 million carats. The value of rough imported goods dropped 43% to $694 million.
Rough exports are still up in volume during the first four months of 2017, as Antwerp has exported 4.9% more carats thus far than in 2016, but their value is now down 6.6%. In real terms for the year thus far, Antwerp has exported 42.6 million rough carats worth $4.16 billion. After a slow month of April, rough imports are now down 7% in volume compared to the first four months last year, with their value declining 15%. Thus far in 2017, 32.3 million carats of rough goods have been imported to the diamond capital, with a value of $3.6 billion.
Market sentiment for the polished diamond trade was sluggish in the month of April as volumes fell on the import as well as export side. Exports of polished diamonds fell nearly 17% in volume year-over-year and were down 13% in value. In dollar terms, polished exports were valued at $779 million for the month. Meanwhile, polished imports declined 24% in volume while gaining 1% in value to $884 million. For the year 2017 thus far, polished imports are down 10% in volume and 7.65% in value compared to 2016, with imports to Antwerp totaling $3.98 billion during the first four months. Polished exports in 2017 are down 14% in volume and 11% in value compared to the first four months of 2016, falling just behind imports at $3.93 billion.