Israel's foreign-trade deficit narrowed in the first eight months of the year to a monthly average of $500 million, compared with $1.1 billion during the same period last year, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Sunday. Hi-tech exports rose, while imports continued to fall but at a slower pace, the bureau said. The trade deficit in August was $1.2b., with imports of goods at $4.4b. and exports of goods at $3.2b., as the dollar strengthened against the euro and other world currencies. "Trade figures in August were strongly influenced by changes in the value of the dollar against other currencies in which import and export transactions are conducted," the bureau said in a report. "In August, the US dollar strengthened by 0.2 percent against the euro, after weakening by 0.5% in the previous month and by 0.9% against the British pound and 0.9% against the Japanese yen." Exports of goods totaled $3.2b. in August, of which 89% were manufactured exports and 10% were diamond exports. Trend figures showed that in the months June to August, exports of goods, not including diamonds, leaped by 25.6% in annual terms, after falling by 0.4% in the March-May period. The bureau reported that hi-tech exports, which represent 51% of industrial exports of goods, rose by an annualized 21.7% in June-August, compared with 20.3% in March-May. Sector by sector analysis showed that mixed-technology exports, which represent 27% of industrial exports of goods, increased by an annualized 5.7% in June-August, after declining by 34.5% in March-May. In the months January to August, exports of raw and rough diamonds totaled $3.3b., compared with $7.6b. during the same period last year. Imports of goods totaled $4.4b. in August, out of which 37% were generated from raw materials (not including diamonds), 16% from machinery and transport tools, 16% from consumption goods, and 31% from diamonds, aircraft and ship materials. The bureau reported that trend figures in seasonally adjusted terms pointed to a slowdown in the rate of the decline of imports of goods (excluding diamonds, ships and aircraft) over recent months. In June-August, imports of goods grew at an annualized rate of 10.4%, after falling at an annualized rate of 24.6% in March-May. In June-August, the imports of raw materials, not including diamonds, rose by an annualized rate of 15.9%, after falling by an annualized rate of 23.6% in March-May. Imports of raw and rough diamonds totaled $2.6b. in June-August, down from $6.7b. during the same period last year. The decline in the import of investment goods (excluding ships and planes) narrowed to an annualized 7.2% in June-August from 41.2% in March-May.