The Antwerp diamond trade in October booked value gains across all categories - particularly for polished-diamond exports and imports - with the exception of rough-diamond imports, which followed the recent decline in production and sales from the diamond miners.
According to figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the polished-diamond trade in Antwerp during October again witnessed a surging average price per carat compared to the same month a year ago. The volume of Antwerp’s polished-diamond exports during the month of October was flat on a year-over-year basis and down 5% from September, but the value of goods traded jumped by nearly 17% year-over-year, attributable directly to a 17% rise in the average price per carat to $2,352 per carat from $2,014 in October 2017. The volume of polished-diamond imports rose by 4% compared to October 2017, as well as last month, with the value of polished goods traded rising by 17% y-o-y. The average price per carat increased by 12% y-o-y to $1,852 per carat from $1,647 per carat. Since January, polished-diamond imports have risen by 3% in volume and 6% in value to over $9.9 billion. Polished exports have fallen by almost 3% in volume this year, but the overall value of the polished trade has risen by more than 3% to $9.8 billion.
The rough-diamond trade in October mirrored the trend on the rough market as a whole, as for months now, diamond producers have seen their trade volumes as well as sales of smaller goods decline, while their average sales prices have increased as the demand for larger, higher-priced goods has remained firm. The volume of rough-diamond imports tumbled by 33% compared to October 2017 (-3% vs. September 2018), resulting in only a 16% decline in the value of those imports as a result of 26% increase in the average price per carat, at $122. The volume of rough exports gained 7%, with an equivalent gain in value as the average price per carat remained flat at $118 per carat.
For the first ten months of the year, Antwerp’s rough diamond imports have now declined by almost 7% in volume to 75 million carats, while the value of those imports has nearly fallen back to 2017 levels, and currently sits at $9 billion. Rough imports have seen an 8% increase in the average price per carat, which currently sits at $121. The volume of rough exports from the diamond capital are now down by 3% at 98 million carats, while their value has increased by 4% to $10.5 billion, with the average price having risen by 7%. The fact that that the value of Antwerp's rough trade for the year thus far is still higher than last year despite a decline in the volume of goods traded indicates that Antwerp's trade of higher-quality goods has remained robust while the industry’s appetite for lower-priced goods has waned.