Israel’s diamond exports grew by 20% in February, 15% for the year

Israel’s diamond trade showed outstanding growth in all areas of activity in February, reported by the Israel Ministry of Industry & Trade’s Diamond Controller.

Net exports of polished diamonds from Israel jumped 19.8% to reach $602.8 million, compared to $503.4 million in February 2003, the Ministry reported. Growth for January – February 2004 was 14.7%, reaching $1.184 billion, compared to $1.032 billion in 2003.

Imports of rough diamonds also increased dramatically during February, rising 58.4% to $490.2 million, compared to $309.5 million in February 2003. Since the beginning of the year rough diamond imports rose 56.5% to reach $888 million, compared to $567.4 million for the same period in 2003. Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 56.5% in February to reach $ 284.6 million, up from $181.9 million in February 2003. For January and February combined rough diamond exports increased 65.3% to $552.5 million, up from $334.1 million for the same period in 2003.

Israel’s imports of polished diamonds rose 13.3% in February 2004 to $ 274.1 million, compared to $241.8 million last February. Since the beginning of the year they rose 7.2% to reach $480.5 million, up from $448.4 million in January and February 2003. The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds remained the United States with 64%, Belgium 14% and Hong Kong 7%.

“We are seeing very encouraging signs in all branches of activity,” said Simcha Lustig, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI). “Polished exports are showing lively growth, as are the import and export of rough diamonds.”