Israel’s net polished exports stabilised in 2018, totalling $4.48 billion, according to figures published by the Diamond, Gemstones and Jewelry Administration of the Israeli Ministry of the Economy. Net polished diamond imports totalled $3.04 billion, while net rough diamond exports stood at $2.25 billion, and net rough imports totalled $2.66 billion.
The stabilisation has taken place for the first time since 2011. While polished exports fell by 2.5 percent, imports of polished diamonds rose 4.1 percent, and rough exports went up by 1.1 percent.
Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) President Yoram Dvash noted that diamond exports in 2018 actually saw a slight increase, although due to changes in the method of measurement the actual increase was not reflected in the data. He commented, “After several very challenging years we have begun to see early signs of recovery and we are cautiously optimistic about the future. I’m very glad that the decrease in polished exports has been stopped, and indications are that our industry is headed for a better year in 2019.”
The US is still the primary market for gross polished exports with 48 percent of the market, followed by Hong Kong (28 percent), Switzerland (8 percent), Belgium (7 percent), the UK (3 percent) and other countries (6 percent).
Danny Tal, Director of the Diamond, Gemstone and Jewelry Administration, said that during 2018, his office launched a comprehensive plan to support the Israeli diamond industry, including government backed credit and marketing support to develop new markets and promote exports. Tal added that in view of the challenges in the industry and stronger competition from abroad the government has eased several regulatory policies.