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US Polished Imports Show Pre-Virus Slump

Apr 27, 2020 9:32 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... US imports of polished diamonds slid 12% to $2.87 billion in the first two months of 2020, even before the coronavirus had started to have a major impact on the economy. February imports were flat at $1.44 billion. The country has seen a continued slowdown in trading: Every month since August 2019 has recorded polished imports of below $1.5 billion (see graph below).

US Trade Data for February 2020

  Feb 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $1.44B 0%
Polished exports $1.38B -23%
Net polished imports $61M 2019: Deficit of $341M
Rough imports $24M -35%
Rough exports $21M -2%
Net rough imports $3M -80%
Net diamond account $64M 2019: Deficit of $325M
     
Polished imports: volume 653,810 carats 6%
Average price of polished imports $2,210/carat -6%

Jan-Feb 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $2.87B -12%
Polished exports $2.64B -22%
Net polished imports $230M 2019: Deficit of $89M
Rough imports $44M -40%
Rough exports $57M -10%
Net rough imports -$13M 2019: Deficit of $10M
Net diamond account $217M 2019: Deficit of $79M
     
Polished imports: volume 1.5 million carats -3%
Average price of polished imports $1,961/carat -10%


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, August 9, 2020: A previous version of this article contained incorrect data on polished imports and exports for January and February.

Image: Times Square, New York. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: net diamond account, net polished imports, Net rough imports, polished exports, polished imports, Rapaport News, rough exports, rough imports, trade data, US
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