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Neither estimates of policymakers nor scaremongering of industry captains have hindered Israeli wares. Export of goods was up 15.6% in the first quarter of 2008, the highest level registered for a single quarter in recent years. Although the fourth quarter of 2007 saw an increase of 26%, expectations for the first quarter of 2008 had been far lower.

Exports are one of the economy's most important growth engines. Data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows that manufacturing exports were up 16% in the first quarter, and mixed traditional technology industry exports were up 64.9% (all data is in annual terms, and compared to the same period in 2007). Mixed traditional industries include sub-sectors of mining, non-metalic minerals, rubber, plastic and metal products. High-tech exports rose 22.7% in the first quarter, and mixed high-tech industry exports increased by 10.8%. Export of traditional industry products rose by 27.8%.

Other data published by the CBS yesterday also prove that the economy is continuing to grow. Credit card purchases by private consumers were up 4.8% in the first quarter, but Israelis bought 0.7% less food and beverages (including food services).

CBS figures for January-February 2008 point to a 3.1% increase (in annual terms) in revenues in the trade and services industries, and 9.3% in business services and real estate. Industrial production proceeds gained 3.0%, with high-tech production up 9.0%.