haifa port 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israeli exports will fail to record any growth in 2012 as the effects of the global economic slowdown reach local shores, the Israel Export Institute predicted Wednesday.
The forecast was made as the institute published figures showing that exports grew 11 percent in dollar terms in 2011, down from 19% in 2010.
Demand from Israel’s most important European trading partners should
drop this year, and demand from the United States should only increase
moderately, Export Institute chairman Ramzi Gabbai said. Exporters would
also have to deal with the relative weakness of the shekel against
other currencies, which follows five years of real appreciation, he
If the institute’s predictions prove correct, it will be only the fourth
time in 20 years that Israeli exports have not recorded any substantial
growth. Exports froze in 2009 during the global financial crisis and in
2001-02 during the global hi-tech slowdown.
To ensure continued growth, Gabbai said, exporters must intensify
efforts to penetrate emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
According to the Export Institute, the US and the European Union still
account for more than 60% of total Israeli exports.
Exports totaled $89 billion in 2010, and the 11% rise in dollar terms
came largely as a result of the higher cost of raw materials and
increased exportation to those same emerging markets Gabbai and
government officials have been talking about.
Egypt was one of the fastest-growing export destinations for Israel in
2011, buying $209 million worth of Israeli products, an increase of 40%
compared with 2010. This was despite overall trade falling by 23% as the
flow of natural gas into Israel was disrupted by regular acts of
sabotage on the Sinai pipeline.
Manufacturers Association of Israel president Amir Hayek said the data
showed that the Israeli and Egyptian business sectors know how to
differentiate between economic interests and the worsening political
relationship between the two countries.