RAPAPORT… Israel’s diamond trade has slowed so far in 2017, as orders from the US declined, data from the Economy Ministry showed.
The country’s exports of polished diamonds fell 12% year on year to $3.38 billion during the first nine months of 2017, while the volume of goods sent out dropped 11% to 1.297 million carats. The average price of the shipments slid 1% to $2,608 per carat, according to Rapaport calculations.
Shipments to the US, Israel’s largest market, declined 15% to $1.26 billion during the nine-month period, while exports to Hong Kong slid 3% to $1.01 billion.
Meanwhile, polished imports declined 15% to $2.01 billion, so that net polished exports — the excess of exports over imports — fell 7% to $1.38 billion.
Rough imports dropped 12% to $2.09 billion, with rough exports sliding 10% to $1.8 billion. Israel’s net rough imports — calculated as the excess of imports over exports — fell 18% to $294 million.
The country’s net diamond account — a calculation of total exports of rough and polished less total imports, measuring the added value of Israel’s diamond industry during the period — declined 62% to $808 million.
During the third quarter, Israel’s polished exports fell 31% to $836 million, while its net diamond account slumped 76% to $82 million, according to Rapaport calculations.
The decline came in spite of the large amount of goods that were reportedly sent to the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair in September. Israeli dealers noted steady demand for larger stones at the event, and also said that many goods had been sent to the US on consignment for the holiday season.