Net exports of polished diamonds from Israel increased 15.1% in November to reach $518.5 million, compared to $450.4 million in November 2002, according to the Israel Ministry of Industry & Trade’s Diamond Controller. Israel’s net polished exports for the first eleven months of 2003 rose 4.5%, to reach $5.19 billion, compared to $4.96 billion in the same period of 2002.
Israel’s imports of polished diamonds rose 61.2% in November to $342.7 million, compared to $212.5 million during the same period last year. Polished imports rose 42.5% from January to November 2003 to reach $2.97 billion, compared to $2.08 billion during the first eleven months of 2002.
Rough imports fell during November by 24.3% to $291.1 million, compared to $384.4 million in November 2002. For the first eleven months of the year rough imports dropped 4.4%, to $3.50 billion. Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 92.9% in November to reach $ 217.1 million, rising from the beginning of the year by 41.1% to $2.04 billion.
The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds remained the United States with 68%, Hong Kong 12%, Belgium 7% and Switzerland 3%.
Industry leaders noted that the figures reflect the difficulty in ensuring a steady supply of rough diamonds to the Israeli industry. According to Simcha Lustig, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute, efforts are being made to deal with this issue. Lustig stated that the Israeli industry will continue its negotiations with De Beers in order to increase the supply of rough to Israel via Diamdel and the dealers.
He cited the agreement which was announced this week between the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the DTC to increase the supply of rough to non-sightholders in 2004 from the $500 million that was supplied this year.
“Each year the Israeli diamond industry purchases about half the world’s rough diamond supply in dollar terms. We have always stressed that ensuring a steady supply of rough is a major priority for IDI. As a result of recent events we are redoubling our efforts in this area, and are seeking to diversify our sources of rough diamonds,” said Lustig.
Lustig also expressed his satisfaction at the growth in polished exports, which is exceeding expectations. “The world diamond market is back on track, and demand for Israeli diamonds is growing steadily. IDI is currently looking forward to 2004 and an intensive promotional campaign in new and current markets. I am very confident that next year we will see even greater growth,” he said.