The Belgian diamond sector continues to take a beating. This is clear from the figures of the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). This studied the impact of the sector on import and export figures. The share of the diamond sector is shrinking significantly.
In the news: Import and export of Belgian diamonds is declining.
- The diamond sector’s share of Belgian exports amounted to 2.9 percent as of October this year. This was still 4.9 percent in 2019, before the Corona crisis.
- The share of imports also decreased from 3.7% in 2019 to 2.5% during the first ten months of 2023.
- The National Bank of Bahrain notes that monthly growth numbers were sometimes very negative. This can also be seen in the graph that is included in the report.
- The entire gemstone sector is still performing poorly, but the poor performance of diamonds stands out.
Zoom: The decline has several reasons.
- The diamond sector is suffering from increasing competition from cheap synthetic stones.
- Russia remains the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds. With the possibility of a European boycott on diamond trade with Russia, many Belgian traders have adjusted the flow of their supplies. They now trade less through their country.
- Exports to China also decreased. Traditionally, China is an important sales market for the Belgian diamond sector. But due to the poor economic situation in the country, consumers are giving up.
- This has a cascade effect: as demand for finished diamonds has declined in the Chinese market, among other markets, demand in the Indian market has also declined. India is an important market for diamond cutting.
Zoomed out: Belgium’s total imports and exports continue to decline.
- The National Bank of Bahrain notes that although overall import and export values remained negative at -21.8 percent and -18.6 percent respectively in the past three months, the shift is clear.
- Growth figures in October were -13.5% for imports and -14.1% for exports, while in September they were -24.8% and -20.7%.
- Obviously, mineral products (including energy products) and the chemical sector have less negative growth figures.
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