Exports to the United States, Israel's largest export market, totaled $5.4 billion in the first half this year, an increase of 9% over the same period last year, according to figures provided by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute. Pharmaceuticals were a major source of this growth, though exports still grew by 4% when pharmaceuticals are excluded.
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Israel’s top export destinations in the first half of 2013 were the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, China, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France. Most of change in the volume of exports to these major markets was attributable to Israel's three dominant industries (excluding diamonds): pharmaceuticals, chemicals and electronic components.
According to the institute's CEO Ofer Sachs, 52% of Israel's exports were in these three industries, each of which is dominated by several companies which greatly influence Israel's overall exports.
Israeli exports to the UK reached $1.7 billion in the first half of 2013, a 15% increase over the same period the year before. The jump in exports to the British market occurred almost entirely in the pharmaceutical sector, which constitutes some 60% of total Israeli exports to that country, according to the institute’s analysis.
While the U.S. and the UK retained their previous spots in the export rankings, Turkey jumped three places, from sixth to third, on the list this year. Exports to the Turkish market rose a whopping 56% in the first half of this year, compared to last, totaling $1.2 billion. According to the institute's analysis, the growth in exports to Turkey was due to a doubling of chemical and refined petroleum product exports, from $465 million in the first half of 2012 to $915 million in the first half of this year. Excluding this sector, the institute calculated that Israeli exports to Turkey during the first half of this year would have actually dropped by 10%.
China, Israel's principal market in Asia, fell to fourth place from third last year because of declining exports in all three leading sectors. Together, these sectors comprise 67% of Israeli exports to China, thoough they fell 26% in the first half of this year compared to last, to a total of $775 million. However, according to the institute's analysis, excluding these three sectors, Israel's exports to China actually grew 9% during this period. Israel exported $1.2 billion's worth of goods to China during the first half of this year, similar to the size of its exports to Turkey.