Israel's diamond exports fell while imports increased slightly in 2006, the Ministry of Industry Trade and Labor said Wednesday. Exports of rough diamonds declined a steep 23.2 percent to $2.7 billion while polished exports dipped 1.5% to $6.6b. Imports of both polished and rough diamonds increased, however, by 3.3% and 11.4%, respectively, to $4b. and $4.7b.
Despite difficult challenges to the world diamond industry in 2006, Israel's Diamond Controller, Shmuel Mordechai noted that Israel succeeded in maintaining export levels for polished diamonds only slightly below 2005 exports. The US continued to lead the Israeli export market accounting for 60% of all polished diamond exports at $3.984b.