China’s Diamond Imports Surge
China’s diamond trade bounced back in the first half of the year as the country’s economy recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Polished imports — after returns of unsold goods — came to $1.58 billion, more than for all of 2020 and 49% higher than in the same period of 2019, the Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE) reported Monday. Total rough and polished shipments in and out of the SDE rose 86% versus 2019, reaching $3.82 billion.
The SDE put the improvement down to a rebound from the coronavirus crisis that sapped the Chinese market in early 2020. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 18% in the first quarter of 2021, the highest rate on record, the exchange added.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic effectively under control in China, the diamond import of the country has registered a hefty bounce in the first half year of 2021 after the gloomy market situation in the first half of 2020 followed by the recovery period in the second half,” the bourse explained. “The surge in trading provides the clarity that China’s diamond market is walking out of the haze of the pandemic and returning to a normal growth track.”
In addition, China’s crackdown on diamond smuggling has supported trading through the SDE, which has seen a surge in membership applications, the organization noted. The number of SDE members increased to 382, of which 210 are foreign-funded, while imports of rough diamonds destined for consumer use nearly doubled year on year.
Diamond imports are on track to surpass 2019 “significantly” and are likely to break the previous record of $2.78 billion set in 2018, the exchange predicted.
“As China’s economy is estimated to maintain [moderate growth of 5% to 6%] in the coming future, the diamond market will be most likely to achieve another decade of desirable growth,” it commented.