Jerusalem, 28 December 1999

Exports up in 1999

(Communicated by Ministry of Industry and Trade Spokesman)

The Ministry of Industry and Trades Planning and Economics Adminstration today (Tuesday) 28.12.99, released preliminary data on exports that shows an 8.2% increase in total exports in 1999, compared to 1998, for a total of $21.5 billion.

The software sector exported $800 million an increase of 40% over a year earlier. Exports of other sectors rose as follows: Polished diamonds 21%; plastics and rubber products 16%; communications and supervision equipment 11%. Overall high-tech exports rose by 5.1% in 1999, totalling $8.3 billion; mixed sectors (including fertilizers, chemicals, plastics and rubber products) rose by 3.7%, totalling $5.5 billion; and exports of traditional sectors rose 1.3%. Export trends in the latter sector were mixed: textiles exports rose 7% (totalling $1.1 billion), while food products declined by over 8% (totalling $435 million)

In the first quarter of 1999, exports of most sectors including advanced technology declined, demonstrating Israels high dependence on international markets. In 1999, Israels exports to the European Union rose by 4%, to the United States by 9% and to Asia by 23%.

However, Israels trade deficit continued to grow, reaching $8 billion at the end of 1999. Trade with the United States showed a surplus of $2.5 billion, 7% lower than in 1998, while the rise in exports to Asia brought about a trade balance, equalling $8 billion.