Israel’s polished diamond exports rose in February while rough diamond imports fell

Israel’s diamond industry again saw an increase in polished diamond exports in February, according to statistics reported by the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor’s Diamond Controller, Shmuel Mordechai.

Net polished diamond exports rose 10.7% in Feb. 2005 to reach $661.6 million, compared to $597.6 million in Feb. 2004. Since the beginning of the year polished exports rose 11.2%, from $1.182 billion in 2004 to $1.314 billion in 2005.

Net imports of rough diamonds declined by 19.9% in February, totaling $393.9 million, as compared to $491.6 million in Feb. 2004. Since the beginning of the year rough diamond imports decreased by 7.6%, from $889 million in 2004 to $821.8 million in 2005. Rough diamond exports from Israel continued to rise, increasing 5.0% in February to reach $298.7 million, compared to $284.4 million in the same month last year. Israel’s imports of polished diamonds increased 17.93% in February 2005 to reach $320.8 million, as compared to $272.1 million in 2004. For the first two months of the year imports of polished diamonds rose 15.5% to $552.1 million, compared to $478.0 million in the same period in 2004.

The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds in February were the United States with 56%, Hong Kong 21%, Belgium 10%, Switzerland 3% and England 2%.

The February figures point to a continued growth in demand for Israeli polished diamonds, as well as a reduction in the quantity of rough diamonds entering the country. According to Simcha Lustig, Chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI), achieving a steady supply of rough diamonds is one of the industry’s major challenges. He said that the Israel Diamond Institute, with the assistance of the Israel Government’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, would continue to invest major efforts in opening up new channels of rough diamond supply to the Israeli industry. Israel is the largest consumer of rough diamonds in the world, in dollar terms, he said.