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Israel Polished Exports Slump

Nov 22, 2020 7:32 AM   By Rapaport News
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Israel’s polished-diamond exports fell 37% year on year to $1.9 billion in the first 10 months of 2020, according to figures the government released last week.

The decline, which reflects the impact of the pandemic, eased slightly in August when the global diamond market picked up, with polished exports for that month down 3% year on year. However, orders slipped 10% in September and slumped 52% in October, the data showed.

“It is no surprise to see that 2020 showed a sharp decrease in Israel’s diamond trade compared to 2019” as a result of the global impact of Covid-19, said diamond controller Ophir Gore. “November statistics so far are better than October, but we still don’t have the final numbers, and things can still change by the end of the month.”

Israel’s diamond sector faced “collapse” amid an 80% drop in exports for the March-to-May period, Israel Diamond Exchange president Yoram Dvash said in July. He predicted that 15,000 families would suffer the effects of layoffs in the industry.

Israel trade data for October 2020

  October 2020 Year-on-year change
Polished exports $176M -52%
Polished imports $162M -30%
Net polished exports $14M -89%
Rough imports $134M 6%
Rough exports $75M 9%
Net rough imports $59M 1%
Net diamond account -$44M 2019: Surplus of $78M
Polished exports by volume 99,660 carats -17%
Average price of polished exports $1,772/carat -42%
  January-October 2020 Year-on-year change
Polished exports $1.9B -37%
Polished imports $1.11B -45%
Net polished exports $787M -22%
Rough imports $757M -48%
Rough exports $592M -50%
Net rough imports $165M -35%
Net diamond account $622M -18%
Polished exports by volume 874,597 carats -30%
Average price of polished exports $2,174/carat -10%
Sources: Ministry of Economy and Industry. Figures exclude goods that were shipped overseas or into Israel and returned unsold.

About the data: Israel is usually a net importer of rough diamonds and a net exporter of polished. As such, net polished exports — representing polished exports minus polished imports — will normally be a positive number. Net rough imports — calculated as rough imports minus rough exports — will also generally be in surplus. The nation’s main role in the market is as a manufacturer of polished, though it is also home to a significant rough trade. The net diamond account is total rough and polished exports minus total imports. It is Israel’s diamond trade balance, and shows the added value the nation creates by producing polished or exporting rough.

Image: The trading floor at the Israel Diamond Exchange in June 2020 after a coronavirus case forced it to close temporarily. (Israel Diamond Exchange)
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Tags: Israel, Israel Diamond Exchange, Ministry of Economy and Industry, net diamond account, net polished exports, Net rough imports, polished exports, polished imports, Rapaport News, rough exports, rough imports
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