Israeli exports set to top $100 billion for first time, surge of trade with Europe

JERUSALEM—Israel’s exports topped $100 billion for the first time on the back of surging trade with Europe, the Economy Ministry said.

“The government set a target to cross $100 billion in exports by 2020, but estimates are that we have passed the mark in 2017,” said Economy Minister Eli Cohen.

Total exports were up around 5 percent in dollar terms, the ministry said. While final figures for the year had yet to be accumulated, the ministry said it expected exports of goods and services, not including diamonds and the sale of start-up companies, to reach $92 billion, an increase of 6% on 2016.

Exports of goods are expected to total $53 billion, up 1% on 2016. Exports of services, not including diamonds, were expected to register a 3% increase to $46 billion. Industrial exports, which account for 85% of goods exports, were up 3% and are expected to reach $45 billion. Diamond exports for 2017 were down 7% to around $7 billion. Agricultural exports were up 2% to $1.2 billion. Exports of services were up 10% to $44 billion.

After two successive years of decline, exports to the European Union increased by 20% to $16 billion to account for some 35% of all Israeli goods exports. The ministry said that increase had been driven by the improved economic climate in the European bloc. The largest increase in exports to Europe, was to the United Kingdom and France, both seeing an increase of around 35%.

Exports to the United States were static at $11.5 billion after three years of increases.  Exports to Asia were down by 15% as a whole due to decreased demand for electronic components. The ministry noted that not including electronic components exports to Asia were stable and it expected increased demand in the sector to fuel higher exports to the Asia region in 2018.

Exports to India saw a double digit drop, but exports to China remained stable and South Korea, Japan and Singapore all increased purchases from Israel.

Exports to Latin America were up 3% to $1.9 billion on the back of increased demand from Argentina and Brazil, while exports to Africa were up 2% to $860 billion.

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