Rising prices of rough and polished diamonds led to substantial value gains for Antwerp’s diamond trade in July, which surged during the weeks preceding its traditional August recess, according to data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). Rough diamond imports surged by 23% and exports by 18% compared to the same month a year ago, while polished imports gained 28% in value and exports gained more than 8% compared to the month of July 2017.
A dramatic surge in rough prices is behind the increased value of the diamond capital’s rough trade last month. The average price per carat of rough imports increased 19% to $125 per carat from $105 per carat a year ago, and was 16% higher than the average price per carat of imported rough in June. Likewise, the average price of rough exports increased by 21% to $125 per carat from $103 per carat a year ago, and surged by 26% compared to the average price of rough exports last month.
Overall, rough imports to Antwerp in July totaled $956 million, representing a 23% rise compared to the $777 million imported a year ago, and an 11% increase over the value of rough imports in June. Along with the price increase, the volume of goods traded increased by 4% to 7.6 million carats. Meanwhile, rough exports from Antwerp in July totaled $1.33 billion, an 18% increase compared to the $1.12 billion imported in July last year, and a 22% increase over the $1.09 billion exported in June. The despite the volume of goods exported in July declining by 4% year-over-year to 10.6 million carats. For the year to date, Antwerp has imported 57 million carats of rough diamonds (+1% in volume) worth $6.84 billion, an value increase of 6% over the first seven months of 2017. Rough exports are now at 77 million carats (-0.4% in volume) worth $8.18 billion, also a 6% increase over last year.
The value of polished exports in July increased more than 8% year-over-year to $1.1 billion despite a 4 percent decline in the volume of goods traded, backed by a 13% rise in the average price per carat, to $2,381 from $2,107. Meanwhile, the value of polished-diamond imports to Belgium surged by 28% year-over-year to $940 million, driven in part by a 17% rise in the volume of goods imported and in part by a 10% increase in the average price per carat.
For the year thus far, the polished trade has shown slow but steady gains compared to the first seven months of 2017, as the value of polished exports has risen by 2% to $7.23 billion despite a 1% decline in volume to 3 million carats, propelled by a 4% rise in the average price per carat, to $2,405 from $2,321. Polished imports have gained nearly 5% in value and now stand at $7.12 billion, riding a 5.5% increase in volume, while the average price per carat has fallen by less than one percent.