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Israel Diamond Industry ‘on Verge of Collapse’

Coronavirus to cost sector more than $580 million, bourse president tells Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Jul 9, 2020 9:42 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Israel’s diamond industry is on the verge of collapse as the coronavirus has wiped out sales and forced business to stop, the president of the Israel Diamond Exchange said Wednesday in a letter to the government.

The pandemic will cost the industry more than NIS 2 billion ($580 million) and lead to companies shutting for more than six months, Yoram Dvash estimated in a plea to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Exports fell by more than 80% year on year in the period from March to May, while domestic trading dropped 90%, Dvash noted. He expects layoffs in the industry to affect 15,000 families, and pointed out that providers of support services such as delivery and security had also suffered.

“We see how, with every day that passes, the crisis deepens and the distress increases,” Yoram Dvash said. He petitioned Netanyahu to offer immediate financial support to the sector, and claimed the government’s current efforts were not working.

“Unfortunately, the steps the government has taken until now…are not reaching the people who do business in diamonds,” Dvash said, arguing that implementation had been too slow and there was a serious shortage of credit. “There’s a real danger to the future of one of Israel’s oldest and most central export industries.”

Dvash urged the government to increase its budget for guaranteeing bank loans to the sector, and offer grants to diamond businesses in crisis and to help the industry’s marketing efforts.

“It’s worth noting that the global trade is recovering, so it’s important we receive government support so the Israel diamond industry doesn’t get left behind,” he said.

Image: Israel Diamond Exchange. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Coronavirus, IDE, Israel, Israel Diamond Exchange, Netanyahu, Rapaport News, Yoram Dvash
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