Figures on the rough diamond 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. 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. Antwerp hosted more than 75 diamond tenders in the first six months of the year, boosted by strong rough prices and the city’s unrivalled critical mass of buyers and sellers.
“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,” said Karen Rentmeesters of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. In H1, Antwerp imported US$5bn worth of rough diamonds, compared to US$2.7bn in H1 of the pandemic year 2020 and US$4.3bn in 2019, up nearly 15% y-o-y comparing 2021 with the last “normal” year 2019. While the rough business is booming, polished trade is lagging behind somewhat.
“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,” said Karen. 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.”