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Israel Trade Slows Amid Economic Slump, Festivals

Nov 7, 2022 5:57 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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Israel’s diamond shipments slumped in October as religious holidays compounded the negative impact of geopolitical and economic trends.

Polished exports fell 24% year on year to $432.8 million for the month, after returns of unsold goods, the Economy and Industry Ministry reported Sunday. Export volume dropped 31% to 109,512 carats, with the average price up 9% at $3,952 per carat, according to Rapaport calculations.

Polished imports slid 28% to $253.6 million. Rough exports plummeted 51% to $55.6 million, while rough imports plunged 55% to $84.6 million.

Since February, the Ukraine war and subsequent sanctions on Russia have resulted in volatility, sometimes leading to lower diamond sales and prices, the ministry explained. The emerging recession and global inflation have also affected demand, while the Jewish festivals and the Indian Diwali holiday contributed to a slowdown in some trading centers, it added. Last year, the Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot all occurred in September, while this year they continued into mid-October.

“Last month’s declines can be explained by the difficulty in finding a satisfactory alternative to Russian rough, the worldwide drop in diamond sales and prices, and the reduction in the number of workdays during the month due to the holidays,” said Ophir Gore, Israel’s diamond controller.

Figures for the next two months are likely to show some increases given the upcoming holiday seasons in the US, China and Europe, Gore added.

Image: The Israel Diamond Exchange. (Shutterstock)
Tags: China, Diwali, Economy and Industry Ministry, Europe, Israel, Jewish festivals, Joshua Freedman, Ophir Gore, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, US, Yom Kippur
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