Israel’s polished diamond exports down 7 percent

Net polished diamond exports from Israel declined 6.9 percent since the beginning of 2006, to $1.229 billion, compared to $1.320 billion in the same period of 2005, according to statistics released by the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor’s Diamond Controller, Shmuel Mordechai. In February 2006, net polished diamond exports decreased by 7.8 percent to reach $611.4 million, compared to $663.2 million during February 2005.

Net imports of rough diamonds increased 9 percent to total $432.7 million in February 2006, as compared to $396.9 million in February 2005. From the beginning of the year net rough imports declined by 5.7 percent, reaching $782.3 million compared to $829.7 million in the same period of 2005. Net rough diamond exports from Israel stood at $234.1 million in February 2006, a decline of 21.5 percent over February 2005, when they totaled $298.3 million. For January – February 2006 rough exports were $507.8 million, a decline of 19.9 percent over the same period last year, when they were $633.8 million.

Israel’s net imports of polished diamonds since the beginning of 2006 increased by 2.4 percent to total $571.2 million, compared to $557.6 million in the same period of 2005. In February they decreased by 3.1 percent, totaling $314.8 million, as compared to $324.8 million in the same month of 2005.

In releasing these results Mordechai emphasized that it is still too early to predict how the Israeli diamond industry will perform during 2006. The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds in February were the United States with 57 percent, Hong Kong 22 percent, Belgium 7 percent, Switzerland 3 percent and England 2 percent.