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US Import Slump Continues in May

Jul 13, 2020 10:51 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... US polished-diamond imports dropped heavily again in May, according to Commerce Department data, with Covid-19 shutting the global market and devastating demand. May is usually the strongest month for shipments as exhibitors send goods to the JCK Las Vegas show, which was canceled this year due to the pandemic.

US Trade Data for May 2020
  May 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $337M -87%
Polished exports $259M -85%
Net polished imports $78M -92%
Rough imports $7M -71%
Rough exports $6M -73%
Net rough imports $1M -37%
Net diamond account $78M -92%
     
Polished imports: volume 102,140 carats -92%
Average price of polished imports $3,297/carat 55%
     
  Jan-May 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $4.1B -58%
Polished exports $3.91B -53%
Net polished imports $189M -87%
Rough imports $62M -62%
Rough exports $84M -48%
Net rough imports -$22M 2019: Surplus of $4M
Net diamond account $167M -88%
     
Polished imports: volume 2 million carats -53%
Average price of polished imports $2,009/carat -9%


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.

Correction, July 30, 2020: A previous version of this article contained incorrect data on polished imports and exports for May and the year to date.

Image: The diamond district in New York. (Shutterstock
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Tags: Commerce Department, COVID-19, exports, imports, Rapaport News, US
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