The polished-diamond trade in Antwerp rode a higher average price per carat, particularly for exports (+6%), to solid value gains during the traditionally slow month of August, when the industry takes a three-week hiatus. The volume of rough goods traded during the month declined notably without having much impact on the overall value of those goods, as the average price per carat for rough goods is also outpacing that of the year prior by approximately 6%.
According to figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the volume of Antwerp’s polished-diamond exports during the month of August declined by 14% on a year-over-year basis, yet the value of those goods increased by 14% as a result of a 33% rise in the average price per carat. At $2,517 per carat, the average price also increased by 6% compared to July. Meanwhile, the volume of polished-diamond imports increased by 10%, yielding a 13% rise in the value of polished goods traded. The average price of imports rose by a modest 2.5% year-over-year, and declined less than one percent compared to July. Since January, polished-diamond imports have risen by 6% in volume and 5% in value to $7.8 billion as prices have remained stable. Polished exports have fallen by 2% in volume this year, but the overall value of the polished trade has risen by 3% to $7.7 billion as the average price per carat has gained 6% to $2,410.
The rough-diamond trade in August was even more sluggish than usual during the annual slowdown, yet the value of goods traded was not impacted negatively as a result of price-per-carat increases. Imports of rough diamonds fell 17% in volume compared to August of 2017, resulting in a just a 2% decline in the value of those imports, mitigated by a 16% rise in the average price per carat. At $128 per carat, the average price of rough import to Antwerp also increased slightly over July. The volume of rough exports fell 16%, yet exports only lost 0.5% in value, buoyed by a 20% increase (y-o-y) in the average price. While the average price per carat of exported rough increased in comparison to August 2017, it fell to $103 from $124 in July. For the first eight months of the year, Antwerp’s rough diamond imports have stayed steady at 62 million carats while the value of those imports has risen more than 5% to $7.5 billion. The volume of rough diamond exports from the diamond capital are down by less than 2% at 82 million carats, while their value has also increased by 5.5% to $8.7 billion, as the average price has risen by 7% The trend of rising rough prices merits monitoring as midstream margins remain very thin.