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Covid-19 Obliterates US Polished Shipments

April imports plummet 98% to lowest level on record.
Jun 23, 2020 10:06 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... 
US polished-diamond imports dropped heavily in April to their lowest level since Rapaport records began, as the coronavirus shut global markets. Rough trading was close to zero during the month, according to data from the Commerce Department.

US Trade Data for April 2020
  Apr 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $28M -98%
Polished exports $187M -88%
Net polished imports -$159M Deficit increased from $5M
Rough imports $0 2019: $28M
Rough exports $6M -32%
Net rough imports -$6 2019: Surplus of $19M
Net diamond account -$165M 2019: Surplus of $14M
     
Polished imports: volume 20,000 carats -97%
Average price of polished imports $1,400/carat -36%
     
  Jan-Apr 2020 Year-on-year change
     
Polished imports $3.76B -46%
Polished exports $3.65B -44%
Net polished imports $111M -77%
Rough imports $55M -61%
Rough exports $78M -44%
Net rough imports -$23M 2019: Surplus of $3M
Net diamond account $88M -81%
     
Polished imports: volume 1.9 million carats -38%
Average price of polished imports $1,941/carat -14%


Source: US Commerce Department data; Rapaport archives

About the data: The US, the world’s largest diamond retail market, is a net importer of polished. As such, net polished imports — representing polished imports minus polished exports — will usually be a positive number. Net rough imports — calculated as rough imports minus rough exports — will also generally be in surplus. The nation has no operational diamond mines but has a manufacturing sector, so normally ships more rough in than out. The net diamond account is total rough and polished imports minus total exports. It is the US’s diamond trade balance, and shows the added value the nation creates by importing — and ultimately consuming — diamonds.

Correction, August 6, 2020: A previous version of this article contained incorrect data on polished imports and exports for April and the year to date.

Image: New York City from above. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Coronavirus, COVID-19, net diamond account, net polished imports, Net rough imports, polished exports, polished imports, Rapaport News, rough exports, rough imports, trade data, US, US Commerce Department
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