Industrial exports, a major growth catalyst for the country's economy, fell 7 percent in real terms in the August-October period as factories and companies felt the blow from an ever-increasing drop in international demand and signs of a global recession. Ruby Ginel, head of the economics division at the Manufacturers Association of Israel, said the global crisis was hurting industrial exports. He attributed the drop in exports to the slowdown in global demand and partly to the work disruptions at Israel's ports during August and the beginning of September. From August through October industrial exports dropped 7% in real terms, or $9.3 billion, compared with the previous three-month period. The fall in industrial exports during the three-month period was led by a sharp decline of 9% in hi-tech exports, the biggest drop since the second quarter of 2003, and a 19% fall in medical drugs exports, which grew by 47% in the pervious quarter.