Israel's trade deficit totalled $6.19 billion for the first nine months of 2005, fully 38.6 percent wider than the $4.47b. trade deficit registered in the same period last year, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics Thursday.
At this rate, the trade deficit will total $8.3b. for the whole of 2005, nearly 27% wider than 2004's deficit of $6.54b.
In September alone, the trade deficit came to $905 million, roughly 2.4 times the $372.8m. lead held by imports in September 2004. Energy imports had more than doubled to $715m. last month, from $354.7m. the year before, while imports of consumer goods rose 22%, to $483.5m. from $396.6m. and imported raw materials rose 15% to $1.43b. from $1.24b.
September's trade deficit was nonetheless 5% narrower than that registered in August, as exports outpaced imports. CBS analysts partially attributed September's narrowing of the trade gap to changes in the value of the U.S. dollar, which rose 0.3% against the euro and the Japanese yen in September, but fell 0.8% against the pound sterling.
In the first nine months of the year, Israeli exports totalled $27.5b., or $19.4b. excluding ships, aircraft and diamonds. Manufactured goods, excluding polished diamonds, accounted for $18.6b., while agricultural produce sold abroad was valued at $779.4m. Of non-diamond manufacturing exports, 45.4% were hi-tech industrial goods, 27.4% medium-hi-tech, 18.9% medium-low-tech and 8.3% the product of low-tech industry.
Israel exported $8.1b. worth of diamonds by the end of September, 64.3% of which were polished and 35.7% rough.
Israelis imported $33.7b. in goods over the first nine months of 2005, including $12.7b. worth of raw materials, $6.95b. in diamonds (rough and polished), nearly $5.2b. in fuels, $4.8b. in investment goods (mostly machinery and equipment) and $4.05b. in consumer goods.