Industrial exports to the European Union grew 1.5 percent to $2.1 billion in the first quarter of 2006 in comparison with last years' first quarter, excluding diamonds, the Israel Export Institute said Wednesday, attributing the "relatively low" figure primarily to the dollar's 9% appreciation against the euro during that period. Controlling for the fluctuation in the exchange rate, first quarter industrial exports were 10% higher than a year earlier, the institute said. Institute director-general Yehiel Asia predicted that manufacturing exports to the EU will have grown 9% by the end of the year. Goods imports from the EU rose 8.5% to $3.6b. in the first quarter.