The institute economists note that this is the first rise in exports since the last quarter of 2011. In light of the increase, Turkey is now Israel's fourth top export destination, up from the sixth place in the same period last year.
IEICI Chairman Ramzi Gabbay told Calcalist, "Economic relations are a foundation for good relations in general. An example is Egypt, where we see that the economy is also a basis for dialogue on other things. The economic relations with Turkey were maintained during the conflict as well, because business is good for both sides."
The rise in exports, Gabbay said, "can be seen in all industries, the most dominant being the oil distillates industry. In this case, the main interest is demands and market prices, not necessarily due to the improved relations.
"I am certain, however, that the improvement is creating a better atmosphere and we are seeing growth in the rest of the industries as well, such as machinery, plastic and rubber exports, and even in exports of agriculture and food."
According to the figures, exports to Turkey are highly concentrated. The main export industry is chemicals and oil distillates, which made up about 75% of all exports to Turkey in the first quarter. Total chemical and oil distillate exports recorded a sharp increase of 67% from the first quarter last year, totaling some $420 million.
Metal exports (mainly scrap metal and metals for recycling purposes), which served as a main export industry in recent years, recorded a 35% drop in the first quarter of 2013, totaling just $30 million.
Exports in all other industries (excluding chemicals and metals) rose in the first three months of the year by 22% compared to the same period last year: Exports of machinery and equipment (including in the printing, robotics, irrigation and food industries) increased by 30% to some $26 million, exports of engines and electrical equipment (including in the alternative energy, electricity and electronics industries) recorded a sharp rise of some 158% to $19 million, mineral exports rose by 90% to $17 million, rubber and plastic exports increased by 21% to some $5 million, food and beverage exports went up 42% to some $4 million, and agricultural exports recorded a 56% increase to some $4 million as well.
On the other hand, exports of paper and wooden products recorded a 6% drop to a volume of some $9 million, medication exports fell by some 19% to $8 million, and textile exports dropped by some 11% to some $5 million.