Rough diamond sales increased significantly last year, supported by a rebound in prices, according to data released by the Kimberley Process on Tuesday (July 4).
Worldwide rough imports jumped 15 percent by value, reaching $48.56 billion in 2016, while volume increased 11 percent, to 380.8 million carats. The three top importers were India, the EU and the United Arab Emirates, all with double-digit growth in value.
In terms of exports, the market saw a jump of 13 percent, to $47.93 billion, and expanded 9 percent in volume to hit to 382.1 million carats. The EU remained the world’s largest exporter of rough diamonds, with most of the gems coming out of Antwerp.
The report also notes that the average price for imports reached $128 per carat, while for exports the average hit $125 per carat — a 4-percent increase in both cases.
Gem industry participants are confident that demand for rough diamonds will continue to recover in 2017. Earlier this year, World Federation of Diamond Bourses President Ernie Blom said the rough diamond market had opened very strongly, and that the polished market was likely to follow. “I expect a robust diamond market going forward,” he added.
In 2016, De Beers, owned by Anglo American (LSE:AAL), increased its rough diamond sales by 37 percent, to $5.6 billion. De Beers is the world’s largest diamond producer.
De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver remains optimistic about future demand for rough diamonds, as the company’s sales jumped 1.5 percent, to $530 million, in the fifth sales cycle of the year.
Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the second-biggest diamond producer, is also expecting rough diamond production to increase significantly this year, supported by optimism in the market.
“Robust demand for rough in the first half of 2017 is set to support revenue-growth momentum for ALROSA, as a result of which our full-year 2017 forecasts might prove conservative,” the Russian investment bank said in January.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.