Industrial imports up 9% in first half [pg. 15]

Industrial exports rose 9 percent to $7.6 billion in the second quarter of 2006, the Manufacturers Association of Israel said Sunday but the outlook for growth for the rest of the year was uncertain given the violence in the North. "Continuation of the growth in exports depends on the security situation," said Yoram Belizofsky, director general of the group. "Any deterioration or deepening of attacks beyond Haifa and the North will change the rising trend that has been characteristic of exports over the last few months." Belizofsky added that, for now, overseas customers continue to believe in the strength of Israeli industry, the economy and exporters, who have shown in the past their ability to live up to delivery commitments. The Association noted that during the quarter there was a sharp drop of 16% in elite technology exports after a 3% rise in the first quarter, including electronic components, computers and communications equipment. Exports in mixed-elite technologies, such as chemical products, oil distilleries and machinery, grew 8% from the parallel period last year, while mixed traditional technologies rose 4.5% and traditional exports, including food products, textiles and furniture, increased 1.5%. Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Sunday that Israel's manufacturing trade deficit, excluding diamonds, narrowed in 2005 to $6.1b., from $6.8b. the previous year. CBS said the deficit - excluding ships, aircraft, and diamonds - narrowed to $4.1b. for the year, some $1.1b. less than 2004. The most notable rise came from elite technologies which doubled its profits (exports over imports) for the year to $5b., compared to $2.5b. in 2004, it said.