Antwerp diamond industry bounces back in 2016

After a very difficult 2015, the Antwerp diamond sector traded 5% more diamonds in 2016. Last year, a total of USD 48 billion worth of diamonds was imported and exported to and from Antwerp. The rough diamond market, in particlular, is clearly showing signs of recovery. A promising trend, since rough diamonds are the foundation and the core of the diamond trade.

A total of 202 million carats of rough and polished diamonds were traded, valued at USD 48 billion. While the value of traded diamonds remained stable in 2016 in Antwerp compared to 2015, the quantity of traded goods rose by 5%, which boosted the market’s mood. Although the general downward trend on the polished diamond market was confirmed, the Antwerp diamond trade strengthened its position in the rough diamonds market.

General downward trend in polished diamonds confirmed

Both exports and imports in polished diamonds decreased in 2016 compared to 2015. A total of 11.4 million carats of polished diamonds worth USD 23.2 billion were imported and exported to and from the Antwerp diamond market. 

This downward trend in polished diamonds is a general trend for the international diamond trade. The withdrawal of some currency in India had an immediate impact on the market there, but the economic slowdown in the BRIC countries is also at the root of this problem.

Rough diamond market is recovering

In contrast to the polished diamond market, the rough diamond market is doing very well. The Antwerp market’s loss in polished diamond trade compared to 2015 was largely offset by the profits achieved in the rough diamond trade. A total of 190.8 million carats of rough diamonds valued at 24.8 billion were imported and exported on the Antwerp diamond market.

Ari Epstein, CEO of AWDC: “2016 was a good year, but the future is also looking good. Commercial production from the Renard and Gahcho Kué mines in Canada and the Liqhobong mine in Lesotho has just started and these goods will definetely be traded in Antwerp. According to forecasts, they will account for more than 7 million additional carats on the market in 2017. Certainly a nice prospect.”

Read more about the diamond sector in Antwerp

Take a stroll along the shop windows in the Golden Streets, right at the hart of the fashion district.
Conflict diamonds don’t stand a chance to make it to Antwerp. The stringent control system, a unique feature of the diamond industry in this city, rules that out.
This year, both Antwerp and Brussels play host to an international Kimberley Process conference. It’s a fine opportunity for Antwerp to emphasise the importance of strict compliance for the diamond industry.