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The View From Jerusalem : Trade Data For February 2014

Pinchas-LandauBottom line: The deficit on trade in goods shrank sharply in February and for January-February. This was mainly due to a surge in exports of polished diamonds in February. More generally, the rate of increase in exports is slowing and of imports has reached zero.

 

  • The total trade deficit in February was remarkable low — $400m before seasonal adjustment. This compares to a deficit of $1.1bn in January and also in February 2013.
  • The main factor behind the smaller deficit was a sharp jump in exports of polished diamonds, to $1.3bn – far higher than in any month in the last year. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, February exports of polished diamonds were almost twice as high as the average in the four preceding months and over twice the amount in February 2013 (see graph).
  • It is unclear what caused this and, since there was no parallel increase in imports of raw diamonds in February, it seems unlikely that the phenomenon will recur.
  • Exports of goods continued to rise, especially those of high-tech sectors. However,  the pace of increase slowed again in February.
  • The rate of increase of imports, excluding ships, aircraft, diamonds and fuels,  fell to zero in February. Fuel imports fell after their sharp rise in January.
  • Imports of investment goods fell in February and over the latest three-month period. Although imports of investment vehicles (trucks, buses, etc) rose, imports of machinery and equipment fell, reversing the trend that held sway through 2013.

Pinchas Landau The View From Jerusalem

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