Antwerp Diamond Trade Shows Modest Growth in First Half of 2016

Finance and Trade
11/07/2016 15:30

According to figures published by Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the Antwerp diamond trade for the first six months of 2016 showed modest growth in the rough trade and stability in the polished trade, albeit at lower levels than last year. “From January to June, 111.1 million carats of rough and polished diamonds were traded on the Antwerp diamond market, as compared to 102.8 million carats in the first half of 2015,” reads the AWDC press release.

Rough trade

The rough diamond trade recorded somewhat mixed results in the first half of 2016, with the value of imports and exports varying nearly month to month. Rough imports stumbled out of the gate in January only to increase to $1.2 - $1.3 billion in three of the following four months. Then in June, rough diamond imports slowed to $945 million, falling 11% year-on-year. However, the overall value of rough imports for the first six months of 2016, namely $6.51 billion, still represents a modest 2.44% increase over the first half of 2015 on the basis of 48.5 million carats traded, a 5.61% increase in volume.

Also starting slowly in January, rough exports hit an early peak in February of 2016 at 12.3 million carats, with volume gradually declining since then. During the month of June, rough diamond exports were down 16% year-on-year, falling under the billion-dollar level. This followed four straight months of rough diamond exports exceeding $1.1 billion, with 3 of those 4 months above $1.2 billion. The overall value of rough diamond exports for the first six months of 2016, at $6.7 billion, was 4.80% higher than during the same period in 2015, while the volume of rough exports, at 56.4 million carats, was 12.9% higher than the first six months a year ago. Antwerp’s total rough trade for the first half of 2016 amounted to 105 million carats for a total value of more than $13.2 billion, an increase of nearly 9% and 3% respectively.

Polished trade

Antwerp's polished trade over the first six months of 2016 charted a similarly variable course, posting strong months - such as February's $1.6 billion in polished exports and March's $1.57 billion in polished imports - alternating with moderate to slow months over the course of the half year. This trend continued in June, as polished imports, at $1.2 billion, were down 12.5% compared to June of 2015, though they were nearly 33% higher than imports a month ago. Meanwhile, polished exports fell more than 17% in value year-over-year to $1.145 billion, though here there were signs of life as well, with this result representing a 10.4% increase over exports in May.

In the first half of 2016, the diamond capital imported $6.5 million in polished goods, a 9.5% decline compared to the first six months of 2015. Antwerp exported $6.7 billion in polished diamonds, down 8.4% compared to the first six months of 2015. Antwerp’s total polished trade for the first half of 2016 amounted to 6.2 million carats for a total value of more than $13 billion, nearly the equivalent of the rough diamond trade. The press release from AWDC reads: “While the rough diamond market appears to be making a cautious recovery as compared to last year, the polished diamond trade continues to find it tough going. The significant monthly fluctuations demonstrate that it is too early to draw far-reaching conclusions.”