illustrative-ship imports exports 311aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The trade deficit approached record levels in January as exports continued the
downward trend that began in the second half of last year, the Treasury said
Monday in its monthly report on the economy.
Export of goods (excluding
ships, planes and diamonds) dropped 6.3 percent in dollar terms in January, and
export of services dropped 0.8% in December, according to the report. In
contrast, imports rose 12.2%.
Tourism and chemicals were two of the
industries hardest hit by the drop in exports. Tourism revenue began to decrease
in January, while export of pharmaceutical products dropped sharply. On the
import side, purchases of investment products and raw materials increased
The report also noted that public sentiment deteriorated
in January, citing the fall in the Purchasing Managers Index, which it said had
reached levels not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis. Poor purchasing
managers’ sentiment is usually an indicator that industry activity is about to
contract, the report warned.
On a more positive note, the report referred
to recently published Central Bureau of Statistics data that showed labor-force
participation remained steady at 57.4%, and the unemployment rate dropped to
5.4%. The economy grew at a rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter, it
Tax revenues were higher than usual in January, thanks to the
one-time collection of taxes from dividends of shareholders, the report said.
Collection of direct taxes increased overall, but it was offset slightly by
reduced collection of indirect tax revenues.