Belgium Trade Grows, but at Slower Pace


RAPAPORT… The Belgian diamond sector’s recovery lost steam in August as the global industry stabilized during the summer months, according to recent data from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).

The country’s polished exports grew 17% year on year to $401 million, while rough exports rose 63% to $651 million — milder increases than in previous months.

Belgium Trade Data for August 2021

 August 2021Year-on-year change
Polished exports$401M17%
Polished imports$627M57%
Net polished exports-$226MDeficit increased 288%
Rough imports$1.02B138%
Rough exports$651M63%
Net rough imports$373M1105%
Net diamond account-$599MDeficit increased 572%
Polished exports (volume)175,890 carats18%
Average price of polished exports$2,280/carat-1%
 January-August 2021Year-on-year change
Polished exports$4.76B39%
Polished imports$4.95B44%
Net polished exports-$189MDeficit increased 1075%
Rough imports$6.95B96%
Rough exports$7.17B143%
Net rough imports-$222M2020: Surplus of $600M
Net diamond account$33M2020: Deficit of $616M
Polished exports (volume)2.4 million carats51%
Average price of polished exports$2,022/carat-8%
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: The Antwerp Diamond Bourse trading floor. (Antwerp World Diamond Centre)

Source: Rapaport


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