Israel's Industry and Trade Ministry said last week that Israel's net polished diamond exports fell 22.8% to US$5.56 billion in 2012 from US$7.2 billion in 2011.
This is the largest decline in the country's polished diamond exports since 2009 when exports fell 37.1% to US$3.92 billion. Polished diamond imports also declined, falling 24.9% to US$4.265 billion.
The Industry and Trade Ministry noted however that exports should rebound in 2013 as long as there are no new crises around the world. Shmuel Mordechai, Israel's Diamond Controller and Manager of the Diamonds, Precious Stones and Jewelry Administration in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor said that exports of rough diamonds fell 20.1% to US$2.8 billion.
Imports of polished diamonds slipped 24.9% to US$4.3 billion, while rough diamond imports dropped 12.9% to US$3.8 billion.
The United States remained Israel's largest market with polished diamond exports of $2.04 billion.Exports to the U.S., which in the past accounted for about 50% of Israel's polished diamond exports, was the destination of just 36% to exports, US$2.04 billion.
Hong Kong, accounted for 28% of exports, US$1.585 billion, followed by Belgium, (8% - US$433 million), Switzerland (5% - US$290 million) and the UK (5% -US$281 million).
Mordechai said the industry in 2013 will have to continue to search for sources of rough diamonds to improve Israel's competitiveness with other global diamond centers.