Led by high tech, Israeli exports to hit record of $114 billion in 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s exports, a key economic growth driver, are expected to grow to a record $114 billion in 2019 from $109 billion last year, government data showed on Sunday.

According to the Central Bureau and Statistics and Economy Ministry, Israeli goods and services exports stood at $84 billion over the first nine months of the year, up 4.6% from January-September 2018.

The Economy Ministry said the increase this year stems mostly from a nearly 12% rise in services exports, with growth led by the high tech sector such as software, computing and research and development services.

The gain in services has more than offset weakness in goods exports, which have been hurt this year by slowing global trade, a weak diamond market, and a strong shekel currency ILS=.

Exports comprise around 30% of Israel’s economic activity.

Overall, exports to the European Union -- Israel’s largest trading partner -- rose 4.8% this year, led by the UK, Spain, Poland and Belgium. Exports to the United States -- the largest export market by country -- rose 2% while exports to India grew 9%. Exports to Asian markets including China and Japan fell this year.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Ari Rabinovitch