Rising Exports Signal Market Revival

April 14, 1999

Rising Exports Signal Market Revival

A notable increase in Israeli diamond exports in the first quarter of 1999, including a rise in the value of exports to Hong Kong, may indicate the world diamond market is bouncing back from economic uncertainty.

The total volume of polished diamond exports rose 20% in March and 8.6% in the first quarter of '99 compared to 1998. The total value of exports in the first quarter increased only slightly, by 0.4%, and value of exports to markets such as Japan and Belgium decreased significantly compared to the same period last year.

In contrast, exports to Hong Kong in the first quarter were up 8% in value over 1998. "The figures confirm the numerous reports that sales of luxury products in Hong Kong are picking up," says Moshe Schnitzer, chairman of the Israel Diamond Institute, in a release.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that the gloom of economic recession is lifting in Asian countries. The article cites climbing stock markets, lower interest rates and increased optimism among international companies in countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

- by Stacey King