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Israel Sees Downturn in Polished Exports

Feb 18, 2018 5:01 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Israel’s polished-diamond exports continued to decline in 2017, dropping 4% to $4.48 billion.

In volume, outbound polished-diamond shipments fell 6% to 1.7 million carats in 2017, the nation’s Ministry of Economy and Industry reported last week. The average price for polished exports increased 2% to $2,588 per carat. Exports to the US, a highly important market for the Israeli trade, slid 7% to $1.69 billion, while shipments to Belgium bounced back, surging 20% to $420 million.

Polished imports fell 11% to $2.92 billion, while net polished exports — representing exports minus imports — climbed 12% to $1.56 billion.

Rough trading also declined, with imports down 12% to $2.85 billion, while exports slipped 18% to $2.23 billion. However, net rough imports — the excess of imports over exports — rose 14% to $623 million.

Israel’s net diamond account — net polished exports minus net rough imports — grew 10% to $932 million for the year.

Even so, the final quarter of 2017 showed improvement, with polished exports jumping 31% year on year to $1.1 billion.

Israel’s diamond market has slowed since the 2008 global financial crash, with a lack of bank credit and increased competition from other countries making a recovery difficult, a government committee said earlier this month. The state has pledged to guarantee $284 million in loans to the trade to encourage growth.

2017 saw the third consecutive year of decline in polished exports, Rapaport records show.

Image: Israel Diamond Exchange. Credit: Three Photographers
Tags: financial aid, Israel, Ministry of Economy and Industry, net diamond account, Net rough imports, polished exports, Rapaport News
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