Israeli Diamond Industry Sputters in Q1 2018

Finance and Trade
03/05/2018 11:38

Israel’s polished-diamond exports declined 33% to $1.16 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to Israel's Ministry of Economy and Industry as reported by Rapaport News. The results stand in sharp contrast to diamond exports in Q1 2017, which jumped to $1.696 billion as a result of international trade shows, and also fell well short of the $1.467 billion in exports recorded in Q1 2016. The clear reason for the current decline is the average price per carat for polished exports, which declined 32% to $2,328, as the volume of exported goods only showed a 1% decrease to 496,783 carats after returns of goods. Polished imports, rose 7% to $747.2 million. Rapaport notes that Israel's rough diamond trading also declined during the three month period, with imports down 7% to $728.6 million, while exports slid 1% to $761.3 million.

Back in early April, Joshua Freedman wrote for the diamond news site, "The Israeli polished-diamond market slowed in the run-up to Passover. Many companies in the bourse close or have limited operations during the seven-day festival beginning March 31. Aside from the pre-vacation dip, traders also had reason to be less optimistic than in previous months. Some feared the potential impact of the Nirav Modi fraud case on the market, and on the ability of Israeli companies’ business associates in India and elsewhere to obtain bank credit. In addition, the March Hong Kong trade fairs failed to meet expectations due to weaker-than-anticipated attendance. However, shortages in certain categories supported prices." Carats.io noted back in March that wholesale polished diamond trading was marked by a price softening in Israel, despite asking prices of polished diamonds increasing during February.