2017 was a record year for Israeli exports, the Israel Export Institute of the Economy and Industry Ministry said in its roundup of Israeli exports for the year. Exports in 2017 were 5 percent higher than in 2016, and passed the $100 billion level, including all exports.
Exports not including diamonds were up 6 percent, for a total of $92 billion. Exports of products, not including exports to the Palestinian Authority, amounted to $53 billion, 1 percent more than in 2016; without diamonds, that amount was $46 billion, 3 percent more than a year before. Manufactured products, which accounted for 85 percent of product exports, amounted to $45 billion, 3 percent more than in 2016. Diamond exports are expected to amount to about $7 billion, 7 percent lower than in 2016. High-tech exports, meanwhile, rose 7 percent. Exports to the European Union increased 20 percent in 2017 over 2016 levels.
Exports might have been higher, experts said, had the Bank of Israel been more successful in reining in the strong shekel. The greenback lost 9 percent against the shekel in 2017, and it closed the year at NIS 3.467/dollar. The shekel also strengthened in relation to other foreign currencies. The dollar’s slide continued despite purchases of excess dollars by the Bank of Israel, in an attempt to sop up excess dollars that are pulling down that currency’s value against the shekel. Israel’s foreign currency reserves at the end of 2017 stood at $122 billion.