In July, Israel's diamond industry faced a substantial decline in various trade metrics, largely influenced by global market dynamics. The rough diamond trade, in particular, saw a significant year-on-year contraction of 46%, accompanied by a 44% drop in exports during the same period.
Zooming out to analyze the period from January to July 2023, the data reveals a consistent downward trend in the diamond trade sector. Net imports of rough diamonds decreased by 45% year-on-year, totaling $661 million. Rough diamond exports followed suit with a notable 53% decline to $515 million during the same timeframe. This decline persisted into July, with a 44% reduction in exports.
Taking a closer look at the details, cumulative net imports for January to July 2023 declined by 24%, amounting to $1.57 billion. July continued this trend with a 34% reduction in net imports. Overall diamond exports from January to July reached $1.9 billion, marking a significant year-on-year decrease of 25%. This downward trajectory was further emphasized in July, with a trade contraction of 31%.
A noteworthy development amid these challenges is Israel's increasing reliance on trade with the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This trade relationship now accounts for a substantial 27% of Israel's combined imports and exports of rough diamonds, highlighting the UAE's pivotal role in the diamond trade.
Ofir Gore, the Diamond Controller at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, provided insights into the current conditions. He explained that the challenges faced by Israel's diamond industry align with global trends affecting the diamond sector worldwide. Gore emphasized that the data underscores the ongoing crisis in the global diamond industry, a reflection of Israel's trade performance.
Despite these challenges, there is a glimmer of optimism. Gore expressed a positive outlook, suggesting that the global diamond market may gradually recover as the year unfolds. Industry estimates point to potential signs of recovery that could become more evident in the final quarter of the year.