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Belgium Trade Slows in January

Feb 18, 2019 4:30 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Belgium’s shipments of rough and polished slid in January amid a slowdown in the global industry. A 10% drop in the volume of polished exports outweighed growth in the average price, with the total value down 4% for the month, according to data the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) released last week. Rough imports and exports also slumped, reflecting weaker demand from manufacturers. While January is usually a period of restocking after the holidays, activity has been limited following sluggish retail sales during the fourth quarter.

Millions unless stated otherwise Jan 2019 Year-on-year change
Polished exports $776.8 -4%
Polished imports $943.6 -1%
Net polished exports -$166.8 2018: Deficit of $142.1M
Rough imports $726.5 -33%
Rough exports $744.7 -27%
Net rough imports -$18.2 2018: Surplus of $74.8M
Net diamond account -$148.5 2018: Deficit of $216.9M
Polished exports: volume 317,569 carats -10%
Average price of polished exports $2,446/carat 6%

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.

Image: A diamantaire at work. (AWDC)
Tags: Antwerp, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Average Price, AWDC, net diamond account, net polished exports, Net rough imports, polished exports, polished imports, Rapaport News, rough exports, rough imports, trade data
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