Preliminary data released by the Bank of Botswana last week indicate that diamond exports fell 67% in January to $112.42 million compared to the same month last year, according to a report in Botswana's daily newspaper Mmegi.
According to the newspaper, diamond exports at these levels were last seen in 2009, when the economy went through a diamond mining-led recession. The figures released by the bank indicate a downward trend; diamond exports averaged $1.2 billion in the first three quarters of 2011 and hit a record of $4.34 billion for 2011.
Botswana is the leading diamond producing country by value, as well as the second largest producer by volume after Russia. In the past few years, the country has been implementing a policy aimed at increasing local revenue from diamonds.