Belgium’s Diamond Shipments Drop Further

The Diamond Office in Antwerp. (Antwerp World Diamond Centre)

Belgium’s diamond trade slowed in June, with polished exports down 44% year on year to $469 million, according to data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). However, the rate of decline eased following heavier drops in April and May, when the global industry shut due to the coronavirus. US orders rose 4% to $173 million in June, indicating a gradual recovery as the important retail market reopened.

Belgium Trade Data for June 2020
 June 2020Year-on-year change
Polished exports$469M-44%
Polished imports$350M-66%
Net polished exports$120M2019: Deficit of $185M
Rough imports$351M-48%
Rough exports$237M-71%
Net rough imports$114M2019: Deficit of $125M
Net diamond account$6M2019: Deficit of $60M
Polished exports: volume146,350 carats-60%
Average price of polished exports$3,206/carat40%
 1H 2020Year-on-year change
Polished exports$2.49B-58%
Polished imports$2.51B-59%
Net polished exports-$14MDeficit decreased 95%
Rough imports$2.75B-37%
Rough exports$2.25B-55%
Net rough imports$494M2019: Deficit of $621M
Net diamond account-$508M2019: Surplus of $360M
Polished exports: volume1.2 million carats-46%
Average price of polished exports$2,097/carat-21%

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.