Israel’s polished diamond exports slumped 20 percent to $5 billion in 2015 because of a drop in demand in key markets and a mismatch between the prices of polished and rough gems, according to the Ministry of Economy.
Polished exports to the U.S., Israel’s largest diamond-trade partner, dived 16 percent to $2 billion and outbound shipments to Hong Kong plummeted 28 percent to $1.35 billion. Exports to Belgium, Switzerland and the U.K. also declined, the ministry said in a statement emailed to Rapaport News January 12.
A downturn hit the global diamond industry in 2015 as demand in the U.S. and China fell and the price of rough precious stones increased even as the price of their polished counterparts decreased, eroding margins, the ministry explained. While Israel’s diamond sector did not escape the global negative trend, its impact was moderate compared with other markets, the statement added.
Polished imports for the same period declined 23 percent to $3.48 billion. Net polished exports, representing exports minus imports, fell 13 percent to $1.52 billion.
Rough imports for the year slumped 31 percent to $2.78 billion and rough exports fell 28 percent to $2.2 billion. Consequently, net rough imports, representing imports minus exports, slid 39 percent to $585 million. Israel’s net diamond account, the difference between net imports of rough and net exports of polished, jumped 18 percent to $931 million.