Industrial exports fell at a slower pace in the March-April period, dropping by 4 percent in real terms, compared with the previous two months, the Israel Manufacturers Association reported Tuesday. "Since the outbreak of the economic crisis last September, until the end of April, the economy lost $6.5 billion as industrial exports dropped at a cumulative rate of 17% in real terms," Ruby Ginel, head of the association's economics division, said Tuesday. The fall in industrial exports continued in March and April, but at a slower pace compared with the average monthly decline of 7.5% in January and February. Industrial exports totalled $5b. in the March-April period. In the first four months of the year, exports of goods, including diamonds, dropped 32% in dollar terms compared with the same period last year and totalled $12b., the Israel Export Institute reported. Growth in industrial production dropped 6.4% in annual terms from January to March, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported. Sector-by-sector analysis of the monthly export figures provided by the association showed that the mixed hi-tech sector was the hardest hit by the crisis, as exports plunged 9% in the March-April period, led by a drop of 19% in real terms in the chemicals sector. From the beginning of the year, exports within the mixed hi-tech sector, which also includes refined oil products, fell at an accumulative rate of 30%. Hi-tech exports declined by 2% in the March-April period, after growing 10% in the first two months of the year. Ginel said the fall was led by a drop in pharmaceuticals exports of 11% and a 37% plunge in exports of aerial vehicles. Both of the sectors reported rapid export growth in the first two months of the year. Exports of electrical components jumped 58%, while exports in the communications-equipment sector rose 2% in the March-April period, which offset the drop in total industrial exports.