Belgium’s polished-diamond exports increased 5% in the third quarter as the average price hit a record high of $2,542 per carat. The September rate of $2,727 per carat was also the country’s loftiest result for any month, according to Rapaport archives based on data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. That upturn reflected the relative strength of the large-stone market versus smaller goods, and compensated for a drop in export volumes.

Millions unless stated otherwiseSept 2018Year-on-year change
Polished exports$1,163 -2%
Polished imports$1,204 0%
Net polished exports($40)Deficit grew 128%
Rough imports$806 -17%
Rough exports$962 -13%
Net rough imports($156)Deficit grew 24%
Net diamond account$115 6%
Polished exports: volume426,557 carats-7%
Average price of polished exports$2,727/carat5%
July-Sept 2018Year-on-year change
Polished exports$2,747 5%
Polished imports$2,852 11%
Net polished exports($105)2017: Surplus of $55.2M
Rough imports$2,400 0%
Rough exports$2,773 2%
Net rough imports($374)-4%
Net diamond account$268 -26%
Polished exports: volume1,080,566 carats-7%
Average price of polished exports$2,542/carat13%
Jan-Sept 2018Year-on-year change
Polished exports$8,877 2%
Polished imports$9,028 5%
Net polished exports($151)2017: Surplus of $53.5M
Rough imports$8,285 3%
Rough exports$9,624 3%
Net rough imports($1,338)Deficit grew 8%
Net diamond account$1,188 -8%
Polished exports: volume3,623,580 carats-3%
Average price of polished exports$2,450/carat5%

Source: Antwerp World Diamond Centre; Rapaport archives
About the data: Belgium is usually a net exporter of polished diamonds. As such, net polished exports — representing polished exports minus polished imports — will normally be a positive number. The nation is also a net exporter of rough. While Antwerp is home to some high-value manufacturing, its main role in the market is as a facilitator of rough-diamond trading, with companies from around the world coming to the city to buy rough. The net diamond account is total rough and polished exports minus total imports. It is Belgium’s diamond trade balance, and shows the added value the nation creates by exporting rough or manufacturing it into polished.
Image: Models show off diamond rings at the Kimberley Process intersessional meeting in Antwerp in June. (AWDC)

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