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Israel’s Exports Drop Amid Jewish Holidays

Israel’s polished-diamond exports saw their first monthly decline since the industry emerged from the Covid-19 crisis, as Jewish festivals disrupted trading. Shipments fell 42% year on year to $197.5 million in September, after deducting the return of unsold goods, the country’s Ministry of Economy and Industry reported Tuesday. Export volume dropped 46% to 80,103 carats, with the average price up 9% at $2,466 per carat. The month included the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot, resulting in partial closures of diamond businesses. Last year, the holidays occurred in late September and early October. Polished imports rose 38% to $214.3 million, the government said. Rough exports leaped 85% to $180.1 million, while rough imports slipped 13% to $85.1 million. The drop in working days in September contributed to the “mixed” data for the month, acknowledged Ophir Gore, Israel’s diamond controller. However, “overall, for the first three quarters of the year, the Israeli diamond sector has been through a very positive period,” Gore pointed out. Trading figures have risen consistently since December 2020 thanks to the recovery of the global diamond sector. The Israeli industry had been in the doldrums for much of last year as the pandemic froze overseas demand. While the rebound in polished exports wobbled in September, shipments gained 49% year on year for a total of $2.57 billion during the first nine months of 2021. Polished imports more than doubled to $2.1 billion from $952.1 million a year earlier. Rough exports jumped 160% to $1.34 billion, with rough imports advancing 137% to $1.48 billion. “The Israeli diamond industry continues to show a robust recovery, demonstrating its underlying strength and flexibility,” added Arnon Juwal, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI). “With the solid demand we are seeing in the US and in Asia, we look forward to a strong holiday season and continued growth until the end of the year.”


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