Israel: Export growth picks up in March, imports rebound
April 16, 2019
Exports expanded 5.2% in March in USD terms, up from February’s 2.4% growth, while imports were up 4.9%, contrasting a 7.4% contraction in February. As a result, the trade deficit widened year-on-year to USD 1.6 billion from USD 1.5 billion in March 2018.
Looking at trend data for Q1 as a whole, export growth was robust, supported by strong high-tech exports, while lower technology exports declined sharply. Turning to imports, Q1 trend data reveals sharp rises in consumer and investment goods, and fuel, likely supported by strong domestic demand.
Looking ahead, export growth should be healthy this year, supported by high-tech service exports such as computing and software, where Israel has a strong competitive advantage. Import growth will likely moderate sharply on a tough base effect.
Author: Oliver Reynolds, Economist