Israel’s polished diamond exports dropped 81 percent year on year to $137.5 million in February, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The researchers did not specify a reason for the slump, however, observations indicated that trade slowed due to a cautious global market and as confidence was shaken by investigations into alleged tax evasion and money laundering activity taking place in the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE). Authorities agreed to suspend the inquiries for one month on February 23.
CBS reported that Israel’s rough exports fell 50 percent to $187.3 million in February. Total diamond imports, including rough and polished, fell 23 percent to $626.6 million during the month.
Israel’s February net diamond account, representing total rough and polished exports less total imports, fell into a deficit of $301.8 million compared with a surplus of $281.7 million one year ago.
During the first two months of the year, polished exports declined 47 percent to $705.7 million while rough exports dropped 44 percent to $429.3 million. Total diamond imports were down 24 percent to $1.14 billion. Israel’s net diamond account for January through February fell to a deficit of $6.5 million compared to a surplus of $611.8 million during the same period a year earlier.