Exports of polished diamonds have plunged 56.7 percent since the beginning of the year, year-on-year. "The first quarter of this year points to a large decline in exports and imports of polished and rough diamonds in Israel and other countries as a result of the economic crisis," Shmuel Mordechai, the supervisor of diamonds at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, said Wednesday. In the first quarter, exports of polished diamonds fell 56.7% to $935 million, from $2.1 billion during the same quarter last year. Imports of polished diamonds fell 61.5% to $408m., from just over $1b. a year earlier. Exports of rough diamonds declined 70.9% to $318m. in the first quarter, from $1b. during the same quarter last year. Imports of rough diamonds plunged 78.9% to $278m., from $1.3b. a year before. Since the economic crises hit the industry in the third quarter of last year, demand for rough diamonds has fallen dramatically. In recent months, diamond dealers have cut back their purchases because of a drop in sales and a lack of available credit.