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Antwerp Diamond Trade Stabilizes in 2017

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(PRESS RELEASE) After a very difficult 2015, the Antwerp diamond trade stabilized in 2016. This trend continued over the past year as the industry traded a total of U.S. $46 billion in diamonds. In 2017, a total of 233.6 million carats of diamonds was imported to and exported from Antwerp. This again represents an increase in the volume of diamonds traded, with a particularly notable increase in the rough diamonds sector, according to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

While the overall value of diamonds trade declined slightly compared with 2016 ($48 billion), the amount of diamonds traded increased significantly. This is mainly due to a significant increase in the number of rough diamonds traded. However, because demand was mainly for smaller rough diamonds – a consistent trend across the global diamond trade in 2017 – the price achieved per carat declined. Given that the price per carat of polished diamonds rose, the gap between the two (rough and polished) was smaller than in 2016. As such, AWDC cautiously affirms that the recovery has taken hold for Antwerp’s diamond traders.

Declining trend in polished diamonds less pronounced

On the year, a total of 10.7 million carats of polished diamonds valued at $22.5 billion were imported to and exported from the Antwerp diamond market. Some 5.6 million carats of polished diamonds were exported and 5.1 million carats were imported, valued at $11.1 billion and $11.4 billion respectively. This represents an overall decline of 7 percent in volume and 3 percent in value compared to 2016.

While demand for polished diamonds worldwide was under pressure – among other reasons as the result of competition from other luxury goods such as travel and technology – AWDC notes that demand from the most important markets, namely, China and the U.S., gradually recovered. Consequently, the polished diamond market continues to experience difficulties, but the decline is less pronounced than last year.

Antwerp retains its position atop the rough diamond market

Last year, some 223.1 million carats worth $23.3 billion were traded on Antwerp’s rough diamond market. The volume of rough diamond imports as well as exports increased by 6 percent and 27 percent respectively with respect to 2016. In value, on the contrary, we saw declines of 11 percent and 1 percent respectively.

The expectation that Antwerp’s rough diamond trade would perform well in 2017 was thus confirmed. This is largely a result of the fact that majority of the diamond production from three new mines (two in Canada, one in Lesotho) is now traded on the Antwerp diamond market, and more tenders were organized to increase the supply of rough goods to the market. AWDC’s proactive strategy in this regard is bearing fruit.

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In 2017, 109 tenders were organized by various Antwerp tender houses. This represents a 27 percent increase over the 86 tenders held in 2016. Additionally, the mining companies held another 68 tenders in Antwerp.

Find the figures here.

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