Russia Releases Diamond Data, Is Largest Producer: Report

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(Rapaport….December 23, 2004) For the first time, Russia released official data on its diamond production, export and imports, reported the Russian Finance Ministry. The data revealed that Russia had become the world’s largest producer of diamonds in volume terms, producing 33 million carats in 2003 and putting Botswana in second place with 29 million carats.

Botswana still leads in value terms however, as its rough diamonds are sold at an average of $60 a carat as against Russia’s $51 a carat. The release of the data is a precondition for Russia’s assumption of the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process.

Russia mined 17.76 million carats of rough diamonds worth $948 million in the first half of 2004. By comparison, the country mined 14.55 million carats worth $729 million in the first half of 2003. However mine output grew to 18.47 million carats worth $947 million in the second half of 2003.

Belgium and Britain are the main importers of Russian diamonds. In 2003, 86% of Russia’s diamond exports ($641.5 million and $118.8 million, respectively) were to these countries. In the first half of 2004, they imported 78% of all diamonds ($165.3 million and $81.2 million respectively).

The next largest importer of Russian diamonds was Israel, with 9.28% share of Russian exports worth $81.9 million in 2003 and almost 10% worth $31.6 million in the first half of 2004.

In other news, leading Russian diamond manufacturer Smolensk Kristall’s annual sales reached over $300 million in 2004. The company will release their official statistics mid-January 2005.

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