The downturn in India's diamond trade continued unimpeded in November, as its two critical indicators - polished-diamond exports and rough-diamond imports - tumbled once again. According to figures from the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), polished diamond exports fell to $1.56 billion, a decline of 12% as compared to the $1.78 bn exported in November 2017, and a 32% decline from $2.3 billion exported last month. Rough imports fared even worse, dropping 52% to $929 million as compared to $1.95 billion imported during the previous November, but only 6% from the $990 million imported in October.
In volume terms, rough imports fell 36% from 20 million carats in November 2017 to 13m carats in November this year. November's imports nevertheless represents a 31% increase over the 9.7 million carats imported in October, as the trade of smaller goods reversed the declining trend that has prevailed over the last several months. This can also be seen, for instance, in the figures for the month coming out of Antwerp, where the volume of goods flowing out of the diamond capital in November gained 30% compared to October, but lost 6% in value due to a 27% decline in the average price per carat - matching remarkably the increase in volume and decline in value seen in India. Meanwhile, imports of cut and polished diamonds to India fell 65% to $65 million in November 2018 as compared to $186 million a year earlier and $92 million in October.
For the first eight months of the fiscal year 2018-19 (April-November), polished diamond exports are up 6.04% to $17 billion as against the $16 billion exported over the same months last year, while imports of polished diamonds fell by 39% to $926 million as compared to $1.53 billion for the same period during the previous year. Also for the fiscal year to date, imports of rough diamonds have declined 13% to $10.3 billion from $12 billion a year earlier. In volume terms, imports fell by 11% from 120 million cts in April-November 2017 to 107 million cts in the same period this year.