RAPAPORT... U.S. polished diamond imports for the month of November rose 6.6 percent year on year to $1.544 billion and that increase was driven by a 34 percent surge in the average price per carat, which hit a record $2,024. The U.S. imported 762,560 polished carats during November, which was 21 percent lower than one year earlier. Meanwhile, polished diamond exports skyrocketed 29 percent year on year to $1.461 billion, leaving net polished diamond imports of only $83 million compared with imports of $316 million in November 2010.
Rough diamond imports jumped 26 percent year on year in November to $68 million and rough exports leaped 58 percent to $41 million. The U.S. imported a net $27 million worth of rough stones or basically the same as one year ago. For the month of November, the U.S. held a net diamond account, representing total imports less exports, of $110 million and the figure reflected a 68 percent decline from November 2010.
Polished diamond imports for the period of January through November 2011 have risen 21 percent year on year to $20.152 billion with 20 percentage points simply reflecting higher prices per carat. Polished diamond exports have surged 31 percent to $16.499 billion and the price per carat on goods leaving the U.S. were up 94 percent to $1,177. The rough diamond trade regularly exhibits wide year-on-year swings, so for the first 11 months of 2011, rough diamond imports were up 25 percent to $578 million and rough exports increased 34 percent to $385 million, leaving a surplus of $193 million compared with $174 million in 2010. The year-to-date net diamond account, however, has fallen 13 percent to $3.846 billion.