Industrial exports, excluding diamonds, to the European Union (EU) grew by a record 20% to $8.2 billion in 2004, the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute reports. The Export Institute predicts that exports to the EU will grow by a further 8% this year, as a result of the depreciation of the shekel against the euro.
Export Institute director Yechiel Assia said that the growth in the export figure had been affected by the 10% strengthening of the euro against the dollar, although exports had also risen 9% in euro terms.
Imports from the EU were up 15% (4% in euro terms) to $12.6 billion. Most of the growth in imports was in chemicals, oil, drugs, and plastics.
Assia predicted that depreciation of the shekel against the euro and high-tech recovery were likely to reduce Israel’s trade deficit with the EU, but added that intensifying competition from within the EU, particularly from the new members, could create difficulties. He also said that hostility and damage to Israel’s image were still causing problems for Israeli exporters.
Exports to Greece, which rose by 8% to $240 million in 2004, were affected by projects for the Athens Olympic Games. Exports to the UK and Germany grew 22% to $1.3 billion, but exports to Slovenia fell by 25% to $23 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on February 15, 2005