India's rough diamond trade continued its 2019 downturn in May, as less manufacturing is taking place amid a tightening of available financing and weak demand for small goods, according to data gleaned from the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). Exports of polished diamonds also recorded their fifth consecutive month of decline in 2019, despite a solid increase (11%%) in the average price per carat.
On an annual basis, rough diamond imports fell by 35% in value to compared to the same month last year, reaching just $1 billion as the volume of rough imports equally fell by 35%. The $1 billion in rough imports is 10% lower than April and is the lowest value imported since January ($858 million). The value of rough imports has declined by 22% during over the first five months of 2019 to just north of $6 billion.
Polished diamond exports in May declined by just over 15% in value compared to 2018, driven by a 24% drop in the volume of polished diamonds exported, mitigated by the higher average price per carat. Hoewever, the $1.88 billion in polished exports represents a nearly 15% increase over April, in which the Indian trade exported only $1.64 billion in polished goods, marking the slowest month of 2019. For the year to date, exports of polished diamonds have fallen by 12% to $9,475 billion.
Meanwhile, imports of polished diamonds stayed more or less level with May of 2018, gaining a single percentage point at $94 million, but they have tumbled for the year to date, with the $462 million in imports being 33% off the pace of the first five months of 2018. Rough exports in May also declined by 11% on an annual basis to $104 million, though they are outpacing the first five months of rough exports in 2018 by