Polished diamond exports rose 15% in August

Israel’s net polished diamond exports rose 14.8 percent in August, according to statistics published by the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor’s Diamond Controller, Shmuel Mordechai. Net polished diamond exports reached $447.6 million in August, compared to $389.8 million for the same month in 2004. Israel’s net polished diamond exports rose 4.1 percent during the first eight months of 2005, to $4.49 billion, as compared to $4.311 billion during the same period in 2004.

Rough diamond exports from Israel rose 23.8 percent in August to $307.2 million, compared to $228.1 million in the same period last year. From January to August they rose 22.7 percent to $2.506 billion, as compared to $2.042 billion for the same period in 2004.

Net imports of rough diamonds decreased by 29.1 percent in August 2005, and totalled $341.9 million, as compared to $482.3 million in August 2004. During the first eight months of the year rough diamond imports increased by 2.7 percent, reaching $3.545 billion, as compared to $3.453 billion for the same period in 2004.

Israel’s imports of polished diamonds showed a decline of 24.7 percent in August 2005, reaching $228.2 million, as compared to $302.9 million in the same month last year. From January to August net imports of polished diamonds rose 11.3 percent to $2.433 billion, up from $2.186 billion in the same period in 2004.

For the first eight months of the year, polished exports to the U.S. declined 2 percent, but rose by 17 percent to Hong Kong, 3 percent to Belgium 90 percent to Switzerland and 8 percent to Japan. The major export markets for Israel’s polished diamonds in August were the United States with 61 percent, Hong Kong 16 percent, Belgium 8 percent, Switzerland 6 percent, and Japan 2 percent.

Israel Diamond Institute Chairman Simcha Lustig said that he was satisfied with the increase in polished diamond exports during August, and that he expects this trend to continue until the end of the year. He noted, however, that the decline in rough diamond imports in August points to the ongoing difficulties that the Israeli industry is experiencing in ensuring a steady supply of rough.