Israel: Trade deficit widens as exports contract at a sharper pace in December
In December, exports contracted 6.6% year-on-year in USD terms, a sharper drop than the revised 4.0% drop in November (previously reported: -6.7% year-on-year). The drop chiefly came on the back of a contraction in high technology exports in the October–December period while growth in medium-high technology exports moderated. On the other hand, exports of low technology goods picked up pace and medium-low technology goods exports rebounded from a contraction.
Imports grew at a significantly softer pace of 4.6% year-on-year in December in USD terms compared to November’s upwardly revised 14.3% expansion (previously reported: +13.6% yoy). Trend data for October–December showed the ninth consecutive drop in investment goods (excluding ship and aircraft) imports on the back of a drop in machinery and equipment imports and flat growth in transport equipment imports. Growth in consumer goods imports slowed noticeably on the back of a contraction in demand for durable goods.
Consequently, the trade deficit widened from USD 1.8 billion in November to USD 2.4 billion in December. This is also down from the USD 1.8 billion shortfall recorded in December 2017. The 12-month rolling trade deficit also widened from USD 24.7 billion in November to USD 25.3 billion in December.