Citing figures from Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry, Rapaport News writes that Israel’s polished diamond exports declined in 2016: exports of polished dropped 6.4 percent to $4.68 billion during the year; Exports to the U.S., Israel's largest trade partner, slid 9 percent to $2 billion, while shipments to Hong Kong fell 8 percent to $1.35 billion. Orders from Belgium slumped 16 percent to $349 million. Polished imports fell 6 percent to $3.28 billion. Meanwhile, rough imports increased 17 percent to $3.25 billion, while rough exports rose 23 percent to $2.7 billion.
Rapaport notes the downward trend prevailed despite improving sentiment in December. Shmuel Mordechai, Israel’s diamond controller, said that while the slowing of trading activity continued for most of 2016, the first signs of recovery appeared toward the end of the year, with the industry’s agreement with the Israel Tax Authority in December providing a positive vibe.