Botswana's 2012 diamond exports up 19.5 percent on year to $4.6 billion

Botswana's diamond exports, including rough and manufactured goods as well as diamonds De Beers brought into the country for sorting, rose 19.5 percent on the year to around US$4.6 billion in 2012, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported.

Meanwhile, diamond imports soared to US$2.02 billion from US$721.1 million in 2011 as a result of the Diamond Trading Company's (DTC) transfer of its sorting operations to the country from London which are due to be completed by the end of 2013. The DTC shipped some of its global output to Botswana as part of the transfer of operations.

Botswana exported US$139.5 million of rough and polished diamonds in December, compared with US$228 million in December 2011.

Diamond exports play a critical role in Botswana's economy, accounting for around two-thirds of its exports and three-quarters of its foreign currency earnings.

Botswana's gross rough diamond exports surged 20.7 percent to around US$3.9 billion last year, while exports of polished diamonds jumped 11 percent to approximately US$692 million.