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Belgium posts lower falls in diamond trade in March
ANTWERP, BELGIUM, April 23, 2009 [AFNS] – The ongoing sharp fall in demand for rough and polished diamonds due to the worldwide economic slowdown was confirmed by the data for Belgian imports and exports of rough and polished goods in March as published by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre.

The declines overall were not as sharp as those recorded in the previous three months, giving a degree of credence to comments from De Beers among others that there has been a steady rise in demand in the past month.

Belgian polished exports fell 17.6 percent to 663,252 carats last month, and dropped by 32.9 percent to $712.9 million. Meanwhile, there were similar falls in polished imports, declining by 16.6 percent to 721,032 carats in March, and by 35.8 percent to $718.4 million.

The statistics for the January-March period showed slightly larger declines overall. Polished exports fell 27.9 percent to 1.71 million carats, and by 35.7 percent to $2.03 billion.

Polished imports in the first three months fell 34.1 percent to 1.83 million carats, and by 37.2 percent to $1.91 billion. Meanwhile, rough exports continued to fall, with a 37.3 percent fall to 6.12 million carats in March, while in financial terms there was a 52.3 percent decline to $440.1 million.

In the first three months of the year, there was a 57.7 percent fall to 14.8 million carats, and a 64.6 percent drop to $1.09 billion. Rough imports in March recorded a fall of 24.4 percent to 6.90 million carats, and a 49.7 percent drop to $446.2 million.

In January-March, there was a 37.1 percent decline to 19.8 million carats and a 59.2 percent fall to $1.18 billion. In terms of export destinations, the United States was in first place in January-March, although the amount of goods bought fell around 40 percent in both volume and financial terms.

The United States imported 197.7 million carats of polished diamonds worth $467.3 million. Hong Kong was second on the list, with 362.9 million carats of Belgian exports worth $446.8 million, declines of 3.5 percent and 21.5 percent, respectively.

Similar declines were recorded by the other major export destinations, including Switzerland, Israel, the UAE, India, U.K., Japan, France and Italy.

A service of the Antwerp Facets News Service (AFNS).