7 Aug 2009 15:59

Armenia slashes cut diamond production 64% in H1

YEREVAN. Aug 7 (Interfax) - Armenia slashed cut diamond production 63.5% year-on-year in the first half of 2009 to 5.4 billion dram ($15.5 million), Gagik Kocharian, a senior trade official at the Armenian Economics Ministry, told Interfax.

Kocharian said output plummeted due to reduced demand for jewelry, however Armenia had received a large consignment of rough diamonds in August and output is expected to rise this month.

Armenia exported $22.3 million in cut diamonds in the half, compared with $66 million in the same period of last year.

Diamond imports fell to $22 million from $68.8 million. This included $10 million in rough diamonds and $12 million in cut and polished diamonds for the jewelry industry.

Armenia has not imported Russian uncut diamonds since November 2008, after Russian mining company Alrosa liberalized its prices, Kocharian said. Armenia has been importing most of its rough from Belgium.