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Belgian Exports Slump as COVID-19 Hits US

Apr 28, 2020 5:58 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Belgium’s polished-diamond exports dropped 51% to $513.7 million in March, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus on global shipments.

Exports to the US fell 47% to $152.9 million, according to data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, as the pandemic spread to North America. Shipments to the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Switzerland also fell. A 44% rise in exports to Hong Kong, for a total of $159 million, was not enough to reverse the trend.

Belgium Trade Data for March 2020

  Mar 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished exports $514M -51%
Polished imports $400M -74%
Net polished exports $113M 2019: Deficit of $466M
Rough imports $612M -18%
Rough exports $449M -51%
Net rough imports $163M 2019: Deficit of $177M
Net diamond account -$50M Deficit decreased 83%
     
Polished exports: volume 276,282 carats -27%
Average price of polished exports $1,859/carat -33%
     
  Jan-Mar 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished exports $1.68B -45%
Polished imports $1.84B -43%
Net polished exports -$157M Deficit decreased 4%
Rough imports $2.13B 2%
Rough exports $1.86B -26%
Net rough imports $268M 2019: Deficit of $428M
Net diamond account -$426M 2019: Surplus of $265M
     
Polished exports: volume 862,505 carats -25%
Average price of polished exports $1,947/carat -27%


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: Diamond manufacturing in Antwerp. (AWDC)
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Tags: Antwerp, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Hong Kong, Israel, Rapaport New, Rapaport News, Switzerland, trade data, United Arab Emirates
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