The Antwerp World Diamond Centre has published the January import and export figures for the Belgian diamond industry, which show that rough exports surged 30% in volume to 8.76m carats compared to January 2015, yet still fell 6.72% in value to $792m (vs. $850m in Jan. 2015). This indicates that manufacturers are mainly replenishing smaller goods. Nevertheless, this result significantly bucks the overall 2015 trend that saw annual rough exports fall 16% in volume and 26.5% in value across the entire year. With the exception of rough exports, however, the calendar year may have changed but the results remain predominantly the same. Rough imports followed the 2015 trend by declining 16% in volume and 13% in value - though this does represent a 10% increase in value compared to the 2015 annual figures (-25% on average).
Polished exports fell 4.5% in value y-o-y to $772m, representing 5% uptick compared with 2015 trends (-9.4% avg. on year), and were down 8% in overall carats. Meanwhile, polished imports fell more sharply, losing 11.5% in value y-o-y to $985m. Exports and imports to particular countries tell a more interesting tale. Polished diamond exports to the U.S. and Hong Kong increased 10% and 30.5% y-o-y respectively, though this uptick represented only a half percent change in value, suggesting that indeed lower price goods are in high demand. Meanwhile, polished exports to U.A.E. fell 17% in volume while increasing 2% in value. Polished imports from India continued to plummet, falling 16% in volume while value stabilized at -3% y-o-y. Imports from U.A.E. also tumbled nearly 27% in volume but only 4% in value. U.S. imports held their ground in terms of volume at -2.75%, but again, the decline in value outpaced that of volume, falling 13%.