Israel's exports of goods saw a modest recovery in the third quarter, driven by strong growth in exports of electronic components following the launch of production at the new Intel factory in Kiryat Gat.
"There is a moderate recovery in the exports of goods, not including diamonds, in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, following a slowdown in the fast decline in exports experienced between the third quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009," said the Israel Export Institute in a report published on Sunday. "Diamond exports, which saw the most significant recovery, increased by 19.7 percent in dollar terms in the third quarter compared with the second quarter."
Total exports grew by 6.6%, to $8.9 billion, in seasonally adjusted terms in the third quarter in comparison with the previous quarter. The growth was boosted mainly by a sharp increase in exports of electronic components, which rose by 36.6% in dollar terms in the third quarter with the start of production oat the new Intel plant in Kiryat Gat. Not including electronic components, exports of goods grew by 1.9% in dollar terms in the same quarter compared with the previous quarter.
Avi Hefetz, director of the Israel Export Institute, said that analysis by the institute's economic division showed that in the first nine months of the year, total exports of goods fell by 28% in dollar terms, to $29.4b., compared with the same period last year. Exports, not including diamonds, fell by 22% in dollar terms and amounted to $25.3b. In the months January to September, diamond exports dived 54%, to $3.9b.
The Israel Export Institute expects total exports to have dropped by 22% in the full-year of 2009, amounting to $40b. yearon-year, after growing by an average of 12% in the previous five years. Diamond exports are estimated to have fallen by 48% this year compared with a year earlier, generating a mere $5b. Exports of goods, not including diamonds, are expected to have declined by 16.5% in 2009, amounting to $34.8b.
Exports to all major target countries declined significantly in the first nine months of the year, ranging from a drop of 58% to Belgium and 25% to the US. The sharp fall in diamond exports dragged down total exports of goods to the US, Hong Kong, Belgium, India and Switzerland.
In the first three quarters of the year, exports to the US dropped by 25% and amounted to $11.8b. compared with the previous year. During the same period, exports of goods, not including diamonds, amounted to $8.4b., showing a decline of 4%. Diamond exports to the US plunged by 51% and amounted to $3.4b.