Tech, Pharma Exports Fall Sharply, Report Says

A cargo ship docked at the port in Ashdod. (Edi Israeli/FLASH90)
A cargo ship docked at the port in Ashdod. (Edi Israeli/Flash90)

For the third time in a row, exports in two key areas – pharmaceuticals and high-tech – nosedived in the period of March through May. There were 27.8 percent fewer exports in those areas during those months compared to a year earlier. The drop in exports in those areas contributed to an overall drop of 16.5 percent of exports overall (except for boats, planes, and diamonds) during the period.

Although the statistics handed out Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics did not name the specifics of the drop, analysts at Calcalist determined that the drop in high-tech and pharmaceuticals was due to falloffs in exports at two companies – Intel in the former, and Teva in the latter. Exports of Intel’s chips and processors crashed in the past 12 months, down 71.3 percent over the period, while the amount of drugs exported by Teva was 42.3 percent lower. Exports of chemicals were down 8 percent, mostly due to lost sales by Israel Chemicals.

According to the analysts, the drop at Intel is a temporary one, as the company’s Kiryat Gat fabrication plant is currently undergoing an upgrade.

Exports were up in other areas, especially in tradition manufactured products. Exports in areas including rubber, plastic, and wood products rose 8.5 percent, while exports in the areas of food and textiles were up 7.4 percent.

Shraga Brosh, head of the Industrialists Association, said that the situation was “not surprising, as we have been warning of weakness in the export markets in recent months. If someone does not take responsibility at the Treasury for this situation we will see a sharp rise in unemployment.”