RAPAPORT... Belgium's polished diamond exports increased in May, aided by higher shipments to Hong Kong and Israel, according to data fromthe Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).Polished exports rose 1.4% year on year to $1.12 billion, the AWDCsaid last week. Shipments to Hong Kong grew 13% to $156.7 million, while ordersfrom Israel jumped 55% to $174.9 million. Exports to Switzerland showedparticular improvement, more than doubling to $85.6 million. These increasesoutweighed a 19% slide in exports to the US, which came to $413.1 million. By volume, total polished exports fell 12% to 422,711carats, with the average price climbing 15% to $2,658 per carat. Polishedimports, meanwhile, increased 9% in value to $1 billion, leaving net polishedexports 35% lower at $120.4 million. Rough imports fell 18% to $1.06 billion, while exportsdropped 3% to $1.24 billion during the month. Net rough imports stood at negative $188million, versus positive $14.8 million a year ago. Belgium's net diamond account - representing total exportsminus total imports - grew 80% to $308.4 million. In the first five months of 2017, polished exports fell 9%year on year to $5.06 billion, and polished imports declined 4.7% to $4.98billion. Rough exports fell 6% to $5.41 billion, while rough imports slumped16% to $4.67 billion.