Israeli Exports Dip in First Half of Year

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

Exports from Israel were mostly stable in the first half of 2016, the latest figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show, with services exports up 13 percent over the same period in the previous year – but exports of merchandise and products fell 5.7 percent, the figures showed. Excluding diamonds, exports were down 5.2 percent. The total figures for those exports were $28 billion and $24 billion.

Compared to previous periods, this first-half-year’s product exports was the lowest since 2010. The reduction in exports were most pronounced in the areas of electronic components, pharmaceuticals and chemicals – some of the most active areas in the export market.

Much of the reason for the drop appeared to be due to factors not related to the Israeli economy. Among individual markets, exports to the United Kingdom, where uncertainty regarding the future of the country has slowed the economy, were down 17 percent, for a total of $3 billion in the first half of the year. Most of that loss was due to a sharp drop in pharmaceutical exports, which account for two thirds of Israeli exports to the U.K. A devaluation of the pound versus the dollar, in which most Israeli exports are denominated, did not help, the CBS said.

China, too, is facing economic uncertainty, and as a result Israeli exports to its largest Asian trading partner were off by 8 percent through June of this year compared to the first six months of 2015. Exports to India in the period were down 9 percent, although the previous years they had climbed 21 percent. One area where exports to India were up was military and defense equipment and services, which increased by 10 percent. In addition, exports were down to the troubled economy of Turkey (35 percent). Exports to Spain, on the other hand, increased 13 percent, to Germany 3 percent, and to Italy 4 percent.