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US Polished Imports Drop to Nine-Year Low

Feb 12, 2020 8:23 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... US imports of polished diamonds slid 16% to $19.46 billion last year, reaching their lowest level since 2010. Shipments fell by value and volume, while the average price also declined. December was a relatively weak month, with imports falling at a steeper rate than for the full year.

US Trade Data for December 2019
  Dec 2019 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $1.26B -23%
Polished exports $1.02B -20%
Net polished imports $236M -36%
Rough imports $48M 92%
Rough exports $36M 38%
Net rough imports $12M 2018: Deficit of $1M
Net diamond account $248M -33%
     
Polished imports: volume 658,970 carats 5%
Average price of polished imports $1,908/carat -27%
     
     
  FY 2019 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $19.46B -16%
Polished exports $17.39B -11%
Net polished imports $2.07B -46%
Rough imports $357M -41%
Rough exports $315M -34%
Net rough imports $43M -67%
Net diamond account $2.11B -47%
     
Polished imports: volume 9.3 million carats -6%
Average price of polished imports $2,090/carat -11%


Source: US Commerce Department data; Rapaport archives 

About the data: The US, the world’s largest diamond retail market, is a net importer of polished. As such, net polished imports — representing polished imports minus polished exports — will usually be a positive number. Net rough imports — calculated as rough imports minus rough exports — will also generally be in surplus. The nation has no operational diamond mines but has a manufacturing sector, so normally ships more rough in than out. The net diamond account is total rough and polished imports minus total exports. It is the US’s diamond trade balance, and shows the added value the nation creates by importing — and ultimately consuming — diamonds.

Image: The New York diamond district. (Shutterstock)
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