NEW YORK (Sep. 23)
“Strong economic medicine” has enabled Israel to reduce its trade deficit for the first eight months of the year by 25 percent, or $560 million, it was reported by the Economic Offices of the Government of Israel in New York.
The pace of the improvement quickened last month, when the trade gap was narrowed by 40 percent compared to August 1983, according to Uri Oren, an Israeli consul and government spokesman. If the decline in the trade deficit continues at the rate for the first eight months of the year, he said, the 1983 deficit of $3.47 billion would be reduced to $2.65 billion.
Oren, Israel’s economic information director in the U.S., attributed the development to government policies that encouraged exports and led to cuts in wages and purchasing power among the Israeli public, lowering the standard of living and discouraging the purchase of imported goods. Among the steps taken, he said, were a decline in government spending and an acceleration of the devaluation of Israel’s currency.
From January through August, Oren reported, Israeli exports (excluding diamonds) rose by 12.5 percent compared to the same period in 1983. Industrial exports were up by 16 percent and agricultural exports climbed 6.5 percent. Last month, he said, exports of industrial products were up 30 percent over August, 1983, with “a particularly impressive increase” in exports of electronics and metal products.
Imports declined during the first eight months of 1984 by 4.3 percent, the spokesman noted. Consumer goods plummeted 33 percent, while imports of raw materials, petroleum and equipment used by industry rose 4.5 percent from January through August.