Figures on the trade in Antwerp in the first six months of the year demonstrate the city is back on track of the pre-pandemic upturn seen in the first few months of 2020, outperforming 2019 figures on rough trade with double-digit growth, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said. Polished trade, still suffering from the lack of trade shows and the effects of the pandemic in India, shows encouraging signs of recovering to normal levels.
Compared to the same period in 2019, in terms of total value of traded rough diamonds, Antwerp recorded an +11% increase to $10.4 billion and a 7% jump in terms of volume to 99 million carats. Demonstrating a strong rough market, apart from the regular influx of rough diamonds via contract sales from major miners, Antwerp hosted more than 75 diamond tenders in the first six months of the year.
Karen Rentmeesters, Senior Manager Industry Relations, said, “Despite the lingering constraints of the pandemic, with second and third waves in many places around the world, Antwerp has proven to be a safe haven for producers to sell their rough, where they can achieve consistent, high value for their goods. It is no surprise that, while competing hubs were forced to cancel tenders, new supply of rough found its way to Antwerp, and continues to be sold here, demonstrated by very strong rough import figures and a busy market.”
In H1, Antwerp imported $5 billion-worth of rough diamonds, compared to $2.7 billion in H1 of the pandemic year 2020 and $4.3 billion in 2019, up nearly 15% year-on-year comparing 2021 with the last “normal” year 2019. In terms of volume, imports jumped from 32 million carats in the same period in 2020 and 40 million carats in 2019 to 47 million carats in the past six months, or a +17% increase comparing 2021 with 2019.
While the rough business is booming, polished trade is lagging behind somewhat, with a total volume of 4.3 million carats, total value of $7.4 billion in traded polished goods in H1 2021.
Rentmeesters added, “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, there have been no trade shows whatsoever, which traditionally create a lot of movement of polished goods in the industry. In addition, the devastating third wave in India in the first half of this year had a major impact on the somewhat slower trend of polished business picking up throughout the global industry, but the last three months show positive signs.”
In April, polished imports in volume in Antwerp equaled 2019 levels, jumping over the June 2019 figures and a similar trend is noticeable for polished exports.