Belarus Rough Diamond Imports Fall 63% in Q2

Edahn Golan

Belarus has slashed imports of rough diamonds in the second quarter of 2009. It imported $2.088 million worth of rough diamonds, a 62.7 percent year-over-year decline, the Belarusian Finance Ministry told Interfax.

In volume, imports were slashed to just 4,050 carats in the quarter, an 80 percent decline, compared to the second quarter of 2008.

The fall in imports in the second quarter resulted in imports of $4.28 million worth of rough diamonds in the first half of 2009, a 67.8 percent year-over-year decline.

In volume, imports fell to 15,550 carats in the first six months of 2009, a 65 percent decline, compared to the first six months of 2008.

Compared to the first quarter, imports in the second quarter fell 4.9 percent in value and 64.8 percent in volume.

The drop in the country's diamond activity is pronounced against the growth it enjoyed in 2008. Rough diamond imports grew 35 percent to $34.27 million in 2008 as the country imported 98,154.86 carats. In volume, the increase was 11.7 percent.

Belarus' main sources of rough diamonds were Russia, Belgium and Israel.

The country is joining other manufacturing centers that experienced a sharp decline in production as demand for polished diamonds has sagged since October 2008.

Most of Belarus' polishing activities take place at the Kristall plant in Gomel. The plant exports 90 percent of its production to the U.S., Belgium, Israel and South-east Asia, according to Interfax.



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