Israel’s Polished Diamond Exports Drop in 4Q

Israel’s polished diamond exports fell 13 percent year on year to $1.37 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 as global demand softened during the period, government data showed. The volume of stones exported declined by 12 percent to 723,936.65 carats, while the average price of the goods dropped by 1 percent to $1,891.25 per carat.
Polished imports rose 7 percent to $1.51 billion and net polished exports, representing exports less imports, fell to a deficit of $140.4 million, from a polished surplus of $162.9 million the previous year.

Israel’s fourth-quarter rough diamond imports slumped 22 percent to $898.9 million, while rough exports fell 33 percent to $536.8 million. Net rough imports, representing the excess of imports over exports, grew 3 percent to $362.1 million.

Israel’s net diamond account, representing total exports of polished and rough less total imports, fell to a deficit of $502.5 million from a deficit of $189.6 million the previous year.

For the full year, polished exports grew 23 percent to $7.2 billion, and by volume, exports rose 4 percent to 3.31 million carats. The average price on the exports increased 19 percent to $2,175.52 per carat. Polished imports grew 35 percent to $5.68 billion, while the country’s net polished exports fell 6 percent to $1.52 billion.

”The year 2011 began with record growth in the first three quarters in all parameters, balanced out to some degree by a worldwide slowdown later in the year,” said Moti Ganz, the chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies. ”In 2011, we have exceeded our polished diamond export figures of 2007, which stood at $7.1 billion before the start of the economic crisis. This is clear testimony to the strength and vitality of the Israeli diamond industry.”

Exports to the U.S., Israel’s largest market, grew 17 percent to $2.8 billion during the year while exports to Hong Kong increased 27 percent to $1.9 billion. Among its other major markets, Israel’s polished exports to India rose 30 percent to $341.4 million and to Switzerland they jumped 70 percent to $421.3 million.

Rough imports rose 17 percent to $4.41 billion in 2011, while rough exports increased 15 percent to $3.52 billion. Net rough imports grew 29 percent to $897.5 million.

Israel’s 2011 net diamond account fell 32 percent to $622.3 million.

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