Polished diamond imports to the U.S. were almost flat last year, recent government data showed.
Inbound shipments slipped 0.3 percent to $23.03 billion in 2016. By volume, imports declined 2.6 percent to 10.8 million carats, while the average price increased 2.4 percent to $2,126 per carat.
Polished imports from India jumped 17 percent to $8.62 billion, while shipments from Hong Kong and China grew 14 percent to $1.55 billion. These increases cancelled out a 15-percent slide in imports from Israel, which reached $7.08 billion – causing the Middle East nation, which had long been the lead exporter to the U.S., to lose that status to India. Belgium’s exports to the U.S., meanwhile, dropped 11 percent to $3.29 billion.
Polished exports climbed 2.9 percent to $18.85 billion, while net polished imports, the difference between imports and exports, fell 12 percent to $4.18 billion.
Meanwhile, rough imports jumped to $860 million from $305 million in the previous year. Rough exports increased to $607 million from $193 million in 2015. Net rough imports grew to $253 million from $112 million.
The U.S. net diamond account, calculated as total rough and polished imports minus total exports, slid 9 percent to $4.43 billion.