The rough diamond trade in Antwerp during the month of November was marked by a resurgence of imports and exports of lower-priced rough after three sluggish months concerning the volumes of goods traded, while the polished trade experienced a general slowdown.
According to figures from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, imports of rough diamonds increased by 34% compared to October, yet yielded only a 15% gain in value due to a 15% decline in the average price per carat, which fell from $122 to $104. On an annual basis, the volume of rough imports increased by 3% while falling 12% in value compared to November 2017. On the export side, the volume of goods flowing out of the diamond capital gained 30% compared to last month, but lost 6% in value due to a 27% decline in the average price per carat, from $117 to $85. It is useful to note that Alrosa's rough diamond sales in November jumped 25% in volume compared to October, which the miner said "may be indicative of strengthening demand for low-cost, small-sized rough diamonds, which has been declining over the past few months.” Alrosa is Antwerp's largest supplier of rough goods. De Beers in November also lowered its prices by 12% in smaller, lower-quality goods and 1-2% in medium sizes. These trends show up directly in Antwerp's rough trade. Year-over-year, rough exports fell 33% in volume and 34% in value compared to November 2017 as a result of a very high baseline. November 2017 totaled by far the largest volume of rough exports of any month in 2017.
Antwerp’s polished diamond trade during the month took another step back after showing signs of recovery, and there too the average price per carat fell on a monthly as well as an annual basis. The volume of polished diamond imports fell 13% compared to October 2018 and 7% year-over-year, while the value of those imports declined 15% from last month and 10% compared to November 2017. The average price per carat of a polished diamond imported to Antwerp was $1,815, a 4% decline from the $1,888 per carat average in Nov. 2017. Meanwhile, the volume of polished exports was down by 5% compared to October and 1% year-over-year, while the value of those exported goods fell by 9% and 11% respectively. The average price per carat of a polished diamond exported from Antwerp was $2,236, a 10% decline from the $2,476 per carat average in Nov. 2017.
For the year thus far, Antwerp’s rough-diamond imports have declined by almost 6% in volume to 83 million carats, while the value of those imports has now drawn even with 2017 levels, and currently sits at $9.9 billion. The volume of rough exports from the diamond capital are now down by 7% at 108 million carats, while their value has also fallen by less than a percentage point to $11.4 billion. Since January, polished-diamond imports have risen by 2% in volume and 4% in value to over $10.7 billion. Polished exports have also declined by 2% in volume this year, but the overall value of the polished trade has risen by 2% and also sits at $10.7 billion.