Diamond exports fell 25% in 2015, exports of goods were down 7.5%, and exports of services dipped 3%, according to figures published today for 2015 by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute.
Israeli exports totaled $45.7 billion in 2015, down 7%, compared with 2014. The Export Institute predicts a 2% rise in exports in 2016.
An analysis of the data shows a continuation of the downtrend in exports that began in 2012. "Beyond the clear signs of a downtrend in recent years, we see indications that things are becoming worse. The figures for last year were exceptional, because we see a drop in exports at a time when world trade is booming," Export Institute chief economist Shauli Katznelson told "Globes" today.
Export Institute chairman Ramzi Gabai stated, "The export figures show that Israeli exporters had a difficult year. Exports of both goods and services fell, and the only positive point was high-tech exports, which rose against the general trend."
In a breakdown by geographic region, Israel exports to the European Union totaled $13.6 billion in 2015, compared with $15.3 billion in 2014, and accounted for 30% of Israeli exports. According to the Export Institute, the dollar value of exports to this destination was affected last year by declines in the euro-dollar exchange rate and plummeting global oil prices. The Export Institute today stressed that exports of chemicals and refined oil products account for one quarter of all goods exported to this trading bloc, and were greatly affected by oil prices on global markets.
Israel's next largest export destination in 2015 was Asia with a total of $11.4 billion, amounting to 25% of Israeli exports. A substantial proportion of the rise in exports to Asia can be attributed to US chip giant Intel, which does its manufacturing in Israel, among other places. Economists said that accelerated exports of components, mainly to China and Vietnam, strongly affected exports to Asia.
Israeli exports to the US were up slightly to $10.8 billion. Exports to Africa, on the other hand, fell from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $1 billion in 2015. "In contrast to Asia, Africa had a problem with availability of resources. The Israeli companies seeking to export to Africa are having a difficult time connecting with the international funds, such as those operated by the World Bank and the UN, which allocate aid for development activity in Africa. Despite the great potential in this market, we have not yet managed to be there, and ways must be found to enable us to expand our business there," Katznelson said.
Exports to Latin America were also down, totaling $1.8 billion, 28% less than in 2014. The Export Institute attributes the steep decline in exports to the continent to a 20% slide in exports to Brazil, which is suffering from a prolonged economic crisis; the steep devaluation of the local currency; and a similar decrease in exports to Mexico.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 29, 2015
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