Belgium Diamond Trade Continues Recovery


RAPAPORT… Belgium’s polished-diamond exports more than doubled year on year to $555 million in May as the country’s trade bounced back from last year’s pandemic-induced slump. A sharp rise in export volume outweighed a drop in the average price per carat, according to recent data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

Belgium trade data for May 2021

 May 2021Year-on-year change
Polished exports$555M161%
Polished imports$603M168%
Net polished exports-$48MDeficit increased 288%
Rough imports$664M362%
Rough exports$883M621%
Net rough imports-$219M2020: Surplus of $21M
Net diamond account$171M2020: Deficit of $34M
Polished exports by volume297,044 carats167%
Average price of polished exports$1,869/carat-2%
 January-May 2021Year-on-year change
Polished exports$2.91B44%
Polished imports$2.98B38%
Net polished exports-$70MDeficit decreased 48%
Rough imports$3.99B67%
Rough exports$4.3B113%
Net rough imports-$305M2020: Surplus of $381M
Net diamond account$235M2020: Deficit of $515M
Polished exports by volume1.4 million carats39%
Average price of polished exports$2,008/carat3%
Sources: Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC); 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 has historically been a net importer of rough, though in recent years, it has often been a net rough exporter. While Antwerp is still 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 diamond worker in Antwerp. (Antwerp World Diamond Centre)

Source: Rapaport


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