Hong Kong has overtaken Japan as the United States' top trading partner for U.S. polished, loose diamonds in the first quarter this year, according to the chairman of the American Diamond Industry Association here.
Actually, the British protectorate bought 25.5 percent of the total dollar value of the U.S. polished diamonds our manufacturers exported in the first quarter, Lloyd Jaffe said.In the first quarter this year, U.S. diamond merchants sold their Hong Kong customers 22,908 carats of polished diamonds valued at nearly $50.6 million.
In the same period, the United States exported 17,701 carats of polished diamonds valued at $42.3 million to the Japanese.
The top three buyers of U.S. polished diamonds are Belgium, Israel and Switzerland, said the association, which represents the largest diamond trade group in the United States.
Citing the most recent U.S. aggregate quarterly trade data, the association also pointed out that U.S. merchants are continuing to export U.S. polished loose diamonds at a record rate.
The association said overall, the dollar value of U.S. polished loose diamonds exported in the first quarter this year totaled $198.2 million, up nearly 43.5 percent compared with the same period in 1987.
The association added that even though Switzerland ranked third among the top buyers of U.S. polished, loose diamonds, the Swiss bought some of the most expensive stones the U.S. exported, a spokesman said.
The Swiss, he noted, paid an average of $6,803 per carat, compared with an
average price of $2,207 a carat paid by Hong Kong dealers. The Japanese came in second to the Swiss and paid $2,391 a carat.
The Belgians paid $899 a carat, while Israelies paid $760.
Generally, higher average prices indicate better color, quality and larger stones, the association said.