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Israel’s Intl. Diamond Week Opens With Large Turnout

Feb 9, 2015 8:07 AM   By Ronen Shnidman
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RAPAPORT... Israel’s International Diamond Week opened on Monday with the local trade hoping the event would help improve the sentiment in the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE). Approximately 300 Israeli companies had exhibits at the event with delegations from the U.S., Turkey and Russia, among others in attendance.

Speakers at the opening ceremony on Monday stressed the necessity of bringing  profitability back to the operations of the many businesses in the diamond industry's midstream. Shmuel Schnitzer, IDE’s president, hailed the growing success of the semi-annual event and similar efforts to bring back activity to the trading floors of world's major diamond bourses as being crucial to that goal.

In the past year, the global polished diamond market has been squeezed by weak demand, tight liquidity among diamantaires and razor-thin profit margins for manufacturers. Among the world's three largest consumer markets for polished diamonds, the U.S., China and India, demand has held steady only in the U.S. since the fourth quarter of 2014.

Speaking at the opening, Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, noted the presence of 100 American diamond dealers at the event and gave a positive forecast for the world diamond industry.

"The global economic crisis has affected all industries and most countries around the world, but we are pulling through," said Shapiro. "An economic recovery is now underway in the U.S., which will hopefully lead the way to a global economic recovery. This year should be a comeback year for the global economy, and for the diamond industry."

The ambassador added that diamonds are the number-one U.S. export to and import from Israel and have helped foster stronger U.S.-Israel ties.

The International Diamond Week was organized by the IDE in close cooperation with the Diamond Dealers Club (DDC) of New York and the Antwerp Diamond Bourse (Beurs voor Diamanthandel). Other speakers at the opening included Belgium’s Ambassador to Israel;  Ernie Blom, the president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB); Reuven Kaufman, the president of the DDC and Marcel Pruwer, the president of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse.
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Tags: Dan Shapiro, IDE, International Diamond Week, Israel Diamond Exchange, Marcel Pruwer, Reuven Kaufman, Ronen Shnidman, Shmuel Schnitzer
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