Israel’s polished diamond exports rose 6.4 percent in March

Net polished diamond exports from Israel rose 6.4 percent in March 2006, reaching $672 million, compared to $631.6 million in March 2005, according to the Israel ministry of industry, trade, and labor’s diamond controller, Shmuel Mordechai. Since the beginning of 2006, net polished diamond exports fell 2.6 percent to $1.9 billion, compared to $1.95 billion during the same period in 2005.

Net imports of rough diamonds in March fell 31 percent to $331.5 million, compared to $480.7 million in March 2005. For the year net rough imports fell 15 percent to $1.11 billion compared to $1.31 billion in the same period of 2005. Net rough diamond exports from Israel declined by 3.8 percent to $262.1 million in March, compared to $272.3 million in March 2005. For the year,  rough exports were down 15 percent to $769.8 million, compared to $906.1 million in the same period in 2005.

Israel’s net imports of polished diamonds increased 3.3 percent in March 2006, totaling $349.8 million, compared to $338.5 million in the same month in 2005. For the year, net polished imports rose by 2.8 percent, totaling total $921.1 million, compared to $896.1 million in the same period of 2005.

The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds in February were the United States with (57 percent), Hong Kong (14 percent), Switzerland (11 percent), Belgium (7 percent) and China (2 percent).

“I believe that the figures for March spell a turnaround for the Israeli diamond industry, and I look forward to positive results for the remainder of the year,” said Israel Diamond Institute chairman Simcha Lustig.