The trend of high volumes of lower-priced rough diamond exports from Antwerp that started in full force during May continued to define the rough trade through the third quarter (July-Sept.), while the diamond capital’s polished trade recorded somewhat soft results. According to figures published by the AWDC, on a year-over-year basis, the volume of rough diamond exports during the quarter increased nearly 12%, totaling over 27 million carats, while their value actually declined by 13% to $2.7 billion. The volume of rough imports also increased 1.5% while their value also tumbled by 13%. Clearly, lower-priced rough is dominating the trade recently. Meanwhile, the value of polished exports fell 1% during the quarter to $2.6 billion, while their volume fell 5% to 1.2 million carats.
For the year 2017 to date (Jan.-Sept.), the volume of rough exports has increased nearly 17% to 94.2 million carats compared to the same period a year ago, while falling 5% in value to $9.3 billion. A similar trend is found on the import side, as rough volumes increased slightly (1%) while their value has fallen by 13%. Commentators have noted that diamond producers have been unloading excess inventory consisting of primarily lower-quality goods, and have seen their average-price-per-carat figures trend lower this year. Meanwhile, De Beers’ 7th rough diamond sales cycle (ended early September) saw a 21% decrease in value compared to Sight 7 a year ago, following a 1.5% decline in value compared to the first half of 2016. Nonetheless, strong demand for rough has continued.