ISRAEL FOREIGN TRADE 1999
(Communicated by Central Bureau of Statistics Spokesman)
Jerusalem, January 13, 2000

The Central Bureau of Statistics reports that in 1999 Israel’s total imports of goods and services was $30.6 billion (excluding the Palestinian Authority), total exports were $23.5 billion (excluding the Palestinian Authority), for a trade deficit of $7.15 billion.

These figures are 13% ($3.6 billion), 10.7% ($2.3 billion) and 23% ($1.3 billion) higher than in 1998 respectively.

The increased trade deficits in part reflects the purchase of $650 million worth of civilian aircraft and an 18% average rise in fuel prices over the year. Excluding diamonds, fuel, aircraft and shipping, reduces the rise in the trade deficit to an increase of only $100 million over last year.

Trade with the Palestinian Authority remained largely unchanged in 1999 compared to 1998, amounting to $1.58 billion in exports and $285 million in imports. Israel’s trade deficit, when including trade with the Palestinian Authority was $5.9 billion.

72% of exports consisted of manufactured goods and software, 24% diamonds and 4% agricultural products. Exports of manufactured goods and software rose 6% in 1999, a relatively low rise compared to 1998 (8%) and 1997 (10%). Exports of high-tech products were $9.2 billion (54% of manufactured exports, excluding diamonds, compared to 53% in 1998 and 50% in 1997). Traditional manufactured exports (textiles, food products, wood products, paper and jewelry) continued their relative decline in 1999 to 13.8%, from 14.4% in 1989 and 15.6% in 1997 — although still rising in absolute terms by 1.6% and amounting to $5.5 billion.

Exports of chemicals, plastics and rubber products and mining and quarrying rose by 4.6% in 1999, with a 16% increase in plastics and rubber products and a 6% increase in chemicals, offset by declines in exports of basic metals and quarry products.

Total agricultural exports in 1999 were $787 million, a 2.7% decline over 1998.

Polished and raw diamond exports rose by 30%, to $5.7 billion, after declining in 1998 due to the financial crisis in Asia that year.

42% of imports consisted of raw materials, 18% of machinery, equipment and vehicles for investment, 13% consumer goods, 18% diamonds, fuels 7% and ships and aircraft 2%. Imports (excluding ships, aircraft, diamonds and fuel) rose 4.9% in 1999 after declining in 1998 and 1997. 80% of the increase ($840 million) was for investment goods, 13% for raw materials and the remainder was consumer goods.

Imports of investment goods (excluding aircraft and ships) rose 18% in 1999, of raw materials (excluding diamonds and fuel) by 1%, of consumer goods by 2% and fuel by 17%.