Sales to Politically Unstable Countries Rise

The scale of Israeli exports to countries with medium or high political risks grew at a rate faster than exports in general, a senior insurance official warned yesterday.

"The upshot is that Israeli exporters are exposed to significant political risks, which could cause great harm" in cases of political upheavals, according to David Milgrom, CEO of the Israeli Credit Insurance Company (ICIC). The most prevalent political events are war, revolution or a financial crisis in which countries forbid the export of foreign currencies, depriving the exporter of remuneration for products delivered, Milgrom asserted.

The ICIC is owned by Harel Insurance and Agricultural Insurance, extending credit in 115 countries to the tune of $9 billion annually. The company recently surveyed and rated 118 countries for political stability.

Israeli exports to the 39 most politically unstable countries are expected to reach $1.5 billion this year. Several states are also real estate targets for Israeli investors.

The most prominent countries constituting high political risks include Russia ($550 million in annual exports), Ukraine ($120 million), Jordan ($150 million), Egypt ($140 million), Argentina ($90 million), Costa Rica ($85 million), Kazakhstan ($70 million), Vietnam ($40 million) and Kenya ($55 million).

Exports to medium-risk countries include China and Turkey ($1 billion each annually), India ($550 million), Brazil ($510 million), Mexico ($315 million) and Romania ($220 million).