Hi-tech exports slowed by war [pg. 15]

Exports in the hi-tech industry slowed by 3 percent during the months of the second war in Lebanon while imports of raw materials over the same period grew 4.5%. "As a result of the war in the North, exports in the hi-tech industry fell by 3% in real terms to $3.6 billion from July to September 2006 compared with average monthly figures in the second quarter of this year," said Nira Shamir, head of the economics division at the Israel Manufacturers' Association. The group explained that although production growth in the hi-tech sector overall was barely affected by the hostilities, exports from certain industries due to the partial closure of many drug and medical factories located in the North were partially halted. Other fields in the hi-tech industry are electronic goods, communications equipment and computer. Shamir added that in the months of July to September industry exports in real terms, not including diamonds, slowed down by 2.5% to a total of $7.2b. "Industry exports during these months were affected by the partial activity and operations of the Port of Haifa, as well as by the closing down of factory operations in the North during the days of the war." Meanwhile, exports in the chemicals and mixed technology industry dropped 8% in real terms in the third quarter to $1.76b., following a 6% increase in the previous quarter. Against this finding, the Association reported a 4.5% rise in imports of raw materials - not including diamonds and petrol - which came to a total of $4.5b. Raw material imports to the machines and electronics industry grew by 6% to $1.62b., while rubber and plastics imports rose 11% to $479m. during the same period. In a separate survey, the Association found that chemical and pharmaceutical exports rose 15% to $4.99b. from January to July this year, compared with the same period of 2005. Exports to Morocco made up $1.7m. while exports to Saudi Arabia generated $257,000.