Armenian Polished Diamond Output Fall 49.2% In Jan-Sept 2007

ARMENIAN POLISHED DIAMOND OUTPUT FALLS 49.2% IN JAN-SEPT 2007

Tacy
Oct 15 2007
Israel

Armenia’s polished diamond output of fell 49.2 percent to approximately
US$99 million (AMD 32.97 billion) in January-September of this year,
according to Gagik Mkrtchian, the head of the Trade Ministry’s precious
stones and jewelry department.

Mkrtchian told Russian news source Interfax that sales for these
first nine months of 2007 also fell 51.1 percent to approximately
US$95.68 million (AMD 31.84 billion) and exports similarly decreased
50.4 percent to approximately US$94.51 million (AMD 31.45 billion).

Mkrtchian predicts the "slump" in the diamond cutting center will
recover by the end of this year and that the sector is expected to
grow in 2008. He added that the slowdown in production and exports
has translated into local job cuts.

Russian diamond producer Alrosa and the Armenian government signed
a cooperation agreement in August between the cutting and jewelry
sectors. Mkrtchian said that a joint company between Armenian cutting
companies and Alrosa is expected to start work in 2008, which will
enhance Armenia’s cutting center.

Mkrtchian also told Interfax that he hopes, for the sake of local
employment, that Shogakn, the country’s largest cutting company, which
is owned by Lev Leviev, would not close, despite reports claiming
the contrary.

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