Israel’s polished diamond exports up 5.4% in July

Net exports of polished diamonds from Israel increased 5.4% in July to reach $581.5 million, compared to $551.7 million in July 2002, according to statistics reported by the Israel Ministry of Industry & Trade’s Diamond Controller. Israel’s net polished exports for the first seven months of 2003 reached $ 3.2 billion, a rise of 1.2% over the same period in 2002.

Israel’s imports of polished diamonds rose 24.6% in July to $255.5 million, compared to $205.1 million during the same period last year. Polished imports rose 45.9% from January to July 2003 to reach $1.8 billion, compared to $1.2 billion during the first seven months of 2002.

Rough imports increased during July by 15.9% to $403 million, compared to $347.7 million in July 2002. For the first seven months of the year rough imports dropped 8.3%, to $ 2.16 billion. Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 26.3% in July to reach $193.4 million, rising from the beginning of the year by 33.2% to $1.25 billion.

Udi Sheintal, Israel’s Diamond Controller, noted that the significant increase in the import of polished diamonds corresponds, in large measure, to the rise in the export of rough diamonds. The polished diamonds, which are mostly manufactured in Israeli plants abroad, are brought back to Israel for sorting, marketing and shipping to overseas markets. Sheintal is hopeful that the upward trend in polished diamond exports will continue to the end of the year.

Since the beginning of the year polished exports showed a rise to Thailand (60%), China (47%), Switzerland (34%), Belgium (20%), and the United States (4%). Exports to Japan and Hong Kong declined during this period by 25% and 5% respectively.

Exports to the United States stood at 69% of the total, while exports to Hong Kong were 10%, and to Belgium 7%.