Israel’s polished diamond exports up 60% in April

Israel’s diamond industry reported growth in all areas of activity in April, according to statistics from the Israel Ministry of Industry & Trade’s Diamond Controller. Net exports of polished diamonds from Israel rose 60.1% to reach $424.9 million, compared to $265.4 million in April 2003, a particularly slow month for Israeli exports due to market uncertainty caused by the war in Iraq. During the first four months of the year net polished exports grew 21%, reaching $2.148 billion, compared to $1.775 billion in 2003.

Imports of rough diamonds also increased dramatically during April, rising 41.6% to $313.8 million, compared to $221.7 million in April 2003. Since the beginning of the year rough diamond imports rose 49.2% to reach $1.617 billion, compared to $1.084 billion for the same period in 2003. Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 37.5% in April to reach $181.4 million, up from $132.0 million in April 2003. For the first four months rough diamond exports increased 54.9% to $964.4 million, up from $622.6 million for the same period in 2003.

Israel’s imports of polished diamonds rose 1.4% in April 2004 to $225 million, compared to $221.9 million for the month last year. Since the beginning of the year they rose 5.5% to reach $1.016 billion, up from $962.7 million for the same period in 2003.

The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds were the United States with 63%, Hong Kong 12%, Switzerland 8%, and Belgium 7%. Since the beginning of the year exports to the U.S. rose 15%, to Hong Kong 34%, Switzerland 17%, Belgium 10% and England 39%.

Industry leaders expressed satisfaction with the results for the year to date. Simcha Lustig, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI), said, “The figures for the first four months of 2004 show that the year is shaping up as we expected, with a healthy rise in all areas of activity. We are looking forward to continued growth during the remainder of 2004.”