Imports and exports of rough and polished diamonds to Antwerp slowed in October on a year-over-year basis as the market recession continued to impact the flow of goods and their prices. High inventories of polished goods continue to soften demand for rough goods to polish, pushing rough as well as polished prices down. It is worth noting, however, that while the average price of rough diamonds traded in Antwerp was 20% lower than in October 2018, they rose substantially from last month. The volume of goods traded in the month of October also fell sharply on a year-over-year basis, according to figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre's Diamond Office.
In October, the volume of rough-diamond imports to Antwerp declined by 12% while exports declined by more than 23% year-over-year. Coupled with a 20% decline in the average price per carat for both imports and exports, rough imports in October fell 30% to $529 million while exports declined 39% to $545 million. As noted, the average price of rough exports jumped 27% to $94 per carat from just $74 per carat last month; the average price of rough imports rose 21% to $97 per carat from $80 in September.
For the year to date, the average price per carat of rough-diamond imports and exports has declined by 16%, with imports currently sitting at $102 per carat ($121 in 2018) and export at $89 per carat ($107). The volume of rough carats imported is down 15% to 63.5 million carats; the volume of rough exports is down 17% to 81.8 million carats. As a result, the value of Antwerp’s rough-diamond exports, at $10.5 billion, is 30% lower than last year; the value of rough imports, at $9 billion, is down by 28%.
On the polished side of the trade, the average price per carat took a significant downturn in October, coming in well below the average for the year. The price per carat for imported goods fell to $1,631 compared to the year’s average of $1,990, which is just a few dollars shy of the 2018 average. The price for polished exports tumbled as well, to $1,944 per carat compared to an average price of $2,465 for the year, which is 1% higher than in 2018.
The volume of polished goods imported and exported also declined compared to October 2018, but was stable compared to September. The volume of polished-diamond imports to Antwerp in October fell 16% to 420,108 carats which, combined with the fall in prices, led to a nearly 27% decline in the value of polished imports during the month, at $685 million. The volume of polished exports was down 15% at 345,292 carats, leading to a 30% decline in the value of polished exports at $671 million. For the year to date, the value of Antwerp’s polished imports is down 10% at $8.95 billion, while the value of polished exports has fallen 12% to $8.68 billion.