Israel’s polished diamond exports up 13% in March; 14% in first quarter

Israel’s diamond industry reported growth in all areas of activity in March, according to statistics from the Israel Ministry of Industry & Trade’s Diamond Controller. Net exports of polished diamonds from Israel rose 12.8% to reach $538.3 million, compared to $477.4 million in March 2003. During the first quarter of the year net polished exports grew 14%, reaching $1.721 billion, compared to $1.510 billion in 2003.

Imports of rough diamonds also increased dramatically during March, rising 41% to $415.1 million, compared to $294.4 million in March 2003. Since the beginning of the year rough diamond imports rose 51.2% to reach $1.303 billion, compared to $861.9 million for the same period in 2003. Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 47.5% in March to reach $230.9 million, up from $156.5 million in March 2003. For the first quarter rough diamond exports increased 59.6% to $782.9 million, up from $490.6 million for the same period in 2003.

Israel’s imports of polished diamonds rose 6% in March 2004 to $310 million, compared to $292.4 million for the month last year. Since the beginning of the year they rose 6.7% to reach $790.4 million, up from $740.8 million for the same period in 2003.

The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds remained the United States with 70%, Hong Kong 10%, and Belgium 7%.

Industry leaders were pleased with the results for the first quarter of 2004. Simcha Lustig, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI), said, “The figures for the first three months of 2004 show that the Israeli industry is adapting well to changing conditions in the world diamond sector, energetically seeking new sources of rough, while pursuing increased efficiencies in diamond manufacturing. This trend, combined with the renewed vigor of the economies of our export markets, will lead to positive growth for the year 2004.”

The Israel diamond industry is planning a significant presence in the BASELWORLD 2004 show opening this week, with dozens of Israeli diamantaires exhibiting throughout the exhibition. The Israel Diamond Institute’s traditional press breakfast at the fair on April 16 will focus on “Marketing and Branding in the Diamond Industry” and will feature a panel of Israeli and international experts.