Israel: Trade deficit widens in December as exports dip, imports rise
Exports plunged in December after growing tepidly a month earlier. In December, exports logged a 4.9% contraction from a year earlier, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). December’s reading contrasted November’s upwardly revised 0.8% expansion from a year earlier (previously reported: -2.7% year-on-year). Exports totaled USD 4.6 billion in December, coming in below the USD 4.8 billion recorded in the same month of 2016. Weak diamond exports explained December’s poor reading, while shipments from the manufacturing, mining and quarrying industries were broadly stable from a year earlier.
Imports grew more moderately in December, climbing 4.1% from a year earlier. December’s reading, which shied in comparison to November’s downwardly revised 8.3% increase (previously reported: +10.4% yoy), saw significantly higher purchases of raw materials partially offset by fewer imported investment and consumer goods. Imports totaled USD 6.4 billion, above the USD 6.2 billion in receipts recorded in the same month of 2016. As a result, the trade deficit widened to USD 1.8 billion in December from USD 1.3 billion a year earlier (November: USD 0.8 billion).
Additionally, the 12-month moving trade deficit widened from USD 14.5 billion in November to USD 15.0 billion in December.