The United States maintained its lead as Israel's largest export destination with exports of goods (diamonds not included) totaling some $9 billion – up 3% as compared with the same period last year.
The highest export volume was reported in the pharmaceuticals sector, which to date constitutes some 41% of total exports to the US, excluding diamonds.
The IEICI noted that despite US ranking at the top of Israel's exports chart, the gap is rapidly closing between the US and other export destinations.
Exports to the US in January-February were five times higher than exports to the United Kingdom over the same period, whereas in the same period last year they were six times higher, and in 2009 – nine times higher.
The UK maintained its ranking from last year as Israel's second largest export destination and is Israel's largest export destination in Europe. Exports to the UK totaled some $9 billion – up 23% as compared to the same period last year, namely due to a sharp rise in pharmaceutical exports to the UK.
China is up to third place and is continuing to consolidate its position as Israel's largest export destination in Asia. Exports of goods, without diamonds, totaled some $1.7 billion, similar to the same period last year.
Holland ranks fourth on Israel's export destination chart with exports at $1.6 billion – up 19% from the same period last year, followed by Germany in the fifth place with exports at $1.45 billion, excluding diamonds – up 24% as compared to the same period last year.
Turkey climbed to the sixth place with exports totaling $1.4 billion – up 39% as compared to the same period last year – the highest increase among Israel's top 20 export destinations, owning to the 54% increase in chemical and distillate exports, which constitute 70% of Israel's exports to the country and totaling $990 billion.
France ranked seventh after climbing from ninth place in the same period last year with exports excluding diamonds totaling $1.1 billion – up 22% from the same period last year. Italy follows at eighth place with exports at about $1 billion – up 4% from last year.
India plummeted to the ninth place as compared with the fourth place last year with exports totaling $934 million as compared with last year – down 30%. This is the largest drop among Israel's top 20 export destinations owing to the volatility in the mining and digging equipment sector – Israel's main export to India.
Exporters estimate that the renewal of mining and digging contracts will lead to an increase in exports to the sub-continent as early as this year.
Spain maintained its 10th place with $750 million in exports – down 8% as compared with the same period last year.
According to IEICI Chairman Ramzi Gabbay, "The changes in Israel's exports map reflect the growing importance of China as a key export destination for Israel."
Gabbay estimates that China will be Israel's largest export destination by the end of 2011 and says the IEICI plans to channel resources to promote exports to emerging markets in South East Asia and South America in order to offset declines in exports to Europe and the US.
Israel's total exports (excluding diamonds, ships and airplanes) in January-February 2011 totaled $34.7 billion – up 11% as compared with the same period last year.
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