Trade deficit narrows as exports rise

"The sharp fall in the deficit has contributed to the appreciation of the shekel."

By SHARON WROBEL
July 14, 2009 11:36
2 minute read.
Trade deficit narrows as exports rise

Zim container ship 88 248. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The country's foreign-trade deficit narrowed in June as imports declined at a more moderate pace and hi-tech exports rose, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday. "Over recent months the economy experienced a slowdown in the decline of imports of goods and an increase in the exports of hi-tech," the bureau said. The June deficit - excluding diamonds, ships and aircraft - was a seasonally adjusted $200 million, down from $1.2 billion in the same month last year, as the dollar weakened against the euro and other world currencies. The export and import figures for June were influenced by changes in the value of the dollar against other currencies in which the transactions are conducted, the bureau said. The dollar fell 3.1 percent against the euro, 6.9% compared to the British pound and 0.3% versus the yen. In the first six months of the year, the deficit dropped to a monthly average of $300m., compared with a deficit of $13.2b. last year. "The figures point to a continued slowdown in the local and global economy, reducing the demand for imports," Shlomo Maoz, chief economist at Excellence Nessuah Investment House, told The Jerusalem Post Monday. "The sharp fall in the deficit has contributed to the appreciation of the shekel." In June, $3.9b. was spent on imports of goods, including 40% for raw materials, 17% for machinery and 27% for diamonds, aircraft and ship materials. In the first six months of the year, imports of raw and rough diamonds were worth $1.8b., down from $5.1b. during the same period last year. The data pointed to a slowdown in the rate of the decline of imports of goods, excluding diamonds, ships and aircraft, the bureau said. In the months April to June, imports of goods fell at an annualized rate of 13.4%, after falling at an annualized rate of 43.4% in the months January to March. In June, exports of goods were worth $3.7b., including 87% for industrial items, 11% for diamonds and 2% for agriculture products. The data indicated that exports of goods, excluding diamonds, rose by an annualized 1.2% in the months April to June, after falling by annualized 23.9% from January to March. The monthly average decline of exports of goods was 2.4% from January to March. The figures for hi-tech exports, which represent 51% of total exports of goods, were up by an annualized 20.5% in the months April to June, after rising by an annualized 14.5% from January to March. Exports of electronic components rose by 129.3% from April to June. In the months January to June, exports of raw and rough diamonds were $2.4b., compared with $600m. during the same period last year.


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