High-tech exports fell 7.1% in 2016, in comparison with 2015, according to trade figures published today by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The figures show that exports by mixed high-tech industries dropped by 9.7% and exports by conventional technology industries by 0.5%. In contrast, exports by mixed conventional technology industries were up 13.9%.
One of the reasons that high-tech exports fell was that the Intel fab in Kiryat Gat closed down for work on its expansion, mainly in the first half of the year. Computer and electronic and optical devices exports, which account for 10.1% of total high-tech exports, sank by NIS 5 billion in 2016, out of a total NIS 6 billion decline in high-tech exports. High-tech accounted for 49% of all Israel's NIS 200 billion exports of goods in 2016. It should be borne in mind that most of Israel's high-tech exporting power in recent years has consisted of exports of services (figures for which have not yet been published), including software products, rather than exports of hardware-based goods.
The trade figures show a NIS 50 billion trade deficit in 2016, the largest since 2012. While exports of goods were down 4.6%, imports of goods, excluding ships, aircraft, diamonds, and energy products, climbed 8.7%. Fuel imports plunged 22%, due among other things to plunging oil prices and increased use of natural gas, instead of imported coal.
The Central Bureau of Statistics notes that the development of trade in goods in 2016 was affected by changes in the shekel rate against the currencies in which import and export transactions were conducted. The average shekel exchange rate fell 1.2% against the US dollar,1.5% against the euro, and 14.1% against the British pound, while rising 9.2% against the Japanese yen.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 12, 2017
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