Ramat Gan: The Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) held a symposium Tuesday, attended by more than 50 bourse members, with the aim of discussing the main challenges facing the industry during this time of crisis.
IDE President Shmuel Schnitzer said that the purpose of the special meeting was to “hear bourse members and discuss suggestions so we can strengthen the ties between the managers of the bourse and its members”. Schnitzer spoke about the steps taken by the IDE to address the crisis and said that bourse managers are unified in their efforts to deal with the challenges facing the diamond industry.
Managing director Moti Besser presented financial data from the first half of 2015, which showed a 20% drop in exports of polished diamonds. He also spoke about the industry’s credit with banks, totaling 1.3 billion NIS – almost half the sum in 2008.
ISDMA President Kobi Koren said that industry data from the last 20 years shows that “the current situation is not good. We’re seeing a drop in credit, exports, imports and prices and above all – a decline in profitability. The drop in rough imports has increased the deficit and we’ll have to cut down on some activities we had planned for next year”.
Diamond Controller Shmuel Mordechai said that 2014 was a great year, and that the comparison of the first half of 2015 with the same period last year “depicts an inaccurate picture”. He spoke about the Modern Manufacturing Center that opened last year in Ramat Gan, which increases local manufacturing, and concluded by saying that “we’ll have to find solutions to enhance marketing to other diamond markets”.
Yoram Dvash, Chairman of the Industry and Marketing Committee and organizer of the symposium, said that the fact there are only three or four diamond companies in control of the global rough market presents a problem. He also said: “Most of our revenue is directed at maintaining infrastructure, and not enough is left to promote other industry related initiatives”. He called all bourse members to become involved and join in on the bourse’s activities.
The talk also focused on online marketing, purchase of rough, synthetic diamonds and the importance of getting buyers to come to Israel.
IDE President Shmuel Schnitzer concluded the meeting by saying that the current crisis cannot be taken lightly, but optimism must be maintained: “We need to focus on manufacturing, without which there is no industry or trade”, he said, “This needs to be the focus – from purchasing rough to manufacturing. We also need to nurture the future generation of the industry, so they can lead it in times to come”.