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Antwerp Trade ‘Has Left Pandemic Behind’

Feb 7, 2022 10:05 AM   By Rapaport News
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Belgium’s diamond shipments rose sharply in 2021 as global demand recovered, underlining the local market’s strong rebound following the Covid-19 crisis, according to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

Total rough and polished trading in and out of the country jumped 49% to $37.23 billion for the year, the industry organization said Friday. The amount was flat compared with 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic had disrupted the supply chain. Volumes rose 24% from 2020 to 204.6 million carats and increased 6% compared with 2019.

“It goes without saying that with this result we can state that the Antwerp diamond sector has now definitely left the pandemic behind and we are once again looking to the future,” commented Ari Epstein, CEO of the AWDC. “Antwerp is the most attractive market for diamonds, and it is reassuring that this trend will continue in 2022.”

Limited consumer spending on social activities such as restaurants has left room for larger purchases such as jewelry, the AWDC explained. Retail sales soared during the fourth quarter of 2021, enabling many diamond companies to deplete their large stocks, while goods have been in short supply, it added.

Antwerp’s main role in the market is as a facilitator of rough trading, though it is also home to a small amount of high-value manufacturing. The country’s polished exports rose 37% year on year to $7.08 billion in the first 11 months of 2021, while rough imports rose 64% to $9.77 billion. The AWDC said it planned to release more detailed trading data for the full year and for January 2022 at a later stage.

Image: The Diamond Office in Antwerp. (Antwerp World Diamond Centre)
Tags: Antwerp, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Ari Epstein, AWDC, Belgium, COVID-19, Manufacturing, pandemic, Rapaport News
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