Israel polished exports slump

Image: The trading floor at the Israel Diamond Exchange in June 2020 after a coronavirus case forced it to close temporarily. (Israel Diamond Exchange)


Israel’s polished-diamond exports fell 37% year on year to $1.9 billion in the first 10 months of 2020, according to figures the government released last week.

The decline, which reflects the impact of the pandemic, eased slightly in August when the global diamond market picked up, with polished exports for that month down 3% year on year. However, orders slipped 10% in September and slumped 52% in October, the data showed.

“It is no surprise to see that 2020 showed a sharp decrease in Israel’s diamond trade compared to 2019” as a result of the global impact of Covid-19, said diamond controller Ophir Gore. “November statistics so far are better than October, but we still don’t have the final numbers, and things can still change by the end of the month.”

Israel’s diamond sector faced “collapse” amid an 80% drop in exports for the March-to-May period, Israel Diamond Exchange president Yoram Dvash said in July. He predicted that 15,000 families would suffer the effects of layoffs in the industry.

About the data: Israel is usually a net importer of rough diamonds and a net exporter of polished. As such, net polished exports — representing polished exports minus polished imports — will normally be a positive number. Net rough imports — calculated as rough imports minus rough exports — will also generally be in surplus. The nation’s main role in the market is as a manufacturer of polished, though it is also home to a significant rough trade. The net diamond account is total rough and polished exports minus total imports. It is Israel’s diamond trade balance, and shows the added value the nation creates by producing polished or exporting rough.