From January to June, 111.1 million carats of rough and polished diamonds were traded on the Antwerp diamond market, as compared to 102.8 million carats in the first half of 2015. The trade figures for polished diamonds remained stable but were lower than last year. The rough trade increased as compared to 2015. During the first six months this year, a total of 6.2 million carats of polished diamonds, valued at more than 13 billion dollars, were traded in Antwerp. The rough trade from January to June was good more 104.9 million carats worth 13.2 billion dollars.
When we look at the rough diamond trade figures, we notice varying results for the first six months of the year. Imports as well as exports fluctuated from month to month. On the import side, for instance, we see a decline in January, followed by three to four months in which the figures rose, only to fall again in June. In general we note the amount of imported rough diamonds rose 5.61% in comparison to last year, resulting in a 2.44% increase in value.
Rough diamond exports also got off to a slow start in January, only to peak in February. Exports declined gradually in the months that followed, though their value continued to fluctuate above the billion dollar mark until June, when the value of exported rough diamonds sank under a billion dollars for the first time since January. Compared to the first six month of last year, the volume of rough diamond exports increased 12.90%, with their value increasing 4.80%.
The polished diamond trade figures followed approximately the same pattern as that of rough diamonds. Stronger months, such as February for exports and March for imports, were alternated with less favorable months. During the first half of the year, 10.83% fewer polished diamonds were imported than last year, leading to a 9.49% decline in value. On the export side, we note 8.78% decline in carats traded and an 8.41% decline in value.
While the rough diamond market appears to be making a cautious recovery as compared to last year, the polished diamond trade continues find it tough going. The significant monthly fluctuations demonstrate that it is too early to draw far-reaching conclusions.