Japan imported $72.3 million worth of polished diamonds in January, starting the year with a decline compared to January the previous year, and signalling the end of a nine-month rise in diamond demand.
Since the triple disaster hit Japan in March 2011, diamond imports registered regular double-digit year-over-year increases. The trend started to weaken in November, when imports increased by 7.3%. However in December, imports surged ahead again during the height of the holiday season.
The January figures are practically flat, softening 0.2% year-over-year, based on figures released by Momozawa & Co., Inc. The volume of imports fell 23.6% to 186,001 carats.
Imports in January are typically larger than in December, as inventory replenishments start. January 2012 was no different. This year, however, the month-over-month increase was a small 8.7%. In past years, the increase was usually 40% or larger.
India is Japan’s leading loose polished diamond supplier, source of 140,618 carats worth $41.8 million in January.