Israeli polished diamond exports rise 29.5% in February

Israel’s net polished diamond exports in February reached $505.4 million, an increase of 29.5% over the same month last year when they totaled $390.2 million, according to statistics published by the Israel Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Diamond Controller.

Net polished exports for the first two months of 2003 increased 7.1% to $1.025 billion, up from $957.1 million for the same period in 2002.

Rough imports in February 2003 rose 0.4% to $310.6 million, while from the beginning of the year they increased 2.4% to $ 575.9 million. Rough exports increased by 58.8% in February, totaling $181.9 million, with these exports seeing a 50.5% rise from the beginning of the year, reaching $338.8 million, Ministry of Industry reported. Polished imports also grew, rising 66.2% in February to reach $242.1 million and 65.7% to reach $448.9 million since January.

Udi Sheintal, Israel’s Diamond Controller, noted that the rise in polished exports over the last two months illustrates the continuation of the positive trends that were apparent in Israel’s major trading markets during 2002. Since the beginning of the year exports to Belgium rose 40%, to Hong Kong 14% and to China 150%.The United States remained the largest market for Israel’s polished exports, accounting for 66% during this period. Gross sales to this market rose to $983 million from January to February, compared to $949.3 million in the same period of 2002.

Hong Kong imported $198.4 million in polished diamonds or 13% and Belgium $120.4 million or 6.5%.