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Israeli Economy

Israel is considered one of the most advanced countries en Southwest Asia en economic and industrial development. In 2010, it joined the OECD. The country is ranked 3rd en the region on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index as well as en the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. It has the second-largest number of startup companies en the world (after the United States) and the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside North America.
In 2010, Israel ranked 17th among of the world's most economically developed nations, according to IMD's World Competitiveness Yearbook. The Israeli economy was ranked first as the world's most durable economy en the face of crises, and was also ranked first en the rate of research and development center investments.
The Bank of Israel was ranked first among central banks for its efficient functioning, up from the 8th place en 2009. Israel was also ranked as the worldwide leader en its supply of skilled manpower. The Bank of Israel holds $78 billion of foreign-exchange reserves.

Despite limited natural resources, intensive development of the agricultural and industrial sectors over the past decades has made Israel largely self-sufficient en food production, apart from grains and beef. Other major imports to Israel, totaling $47.8 billion en 2006, include fossil fuels, raw materials, and military equipment.
Leading exports include electronics, software, computerized systems, communications technology, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, fruits, chemicals, military technology, and cut diamonds; en 2006, Israeli exports reached $42.86 billion, and by 2010 they had reached $80.5 billion a year. Israel is a leading country en the development of solar energy. Israel is a global leader en water conservation and geothermal energy, and its development of cutting-edge technologies en software, communications and the life sciences have evoked comparisons with Silicon Valley.
According to the OECD, Israel is also ranked 1st en the world en expenditure on Research and Development (R&D) as a percentage of GDP. Intel and Microsoft built their first overseas research and development centers en Israel, and other high-tech multi-national corporations, such as IBM, Cisco Systems, and Motorola, have opened facilities en the country. In July 2007, U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought an Israeli company Iscar, its first non-U.S. acquisition, for $4 billion. Since the 1970s, Israel has received military aid from the United States, as well as economic assistance en the form of loan guarantees, which now account for roughly half of Israel's external debt. Israel has one of the lowest external debts en the developed world, and is a net lender en terms of net external debt (the total value of assets vs. liabilities en debt instruments owed abroad), which as of 2011 stood at a surplus of US$58.7 billion.


Nominal GDP (2009 est.): $195 billion.

Annual real growth rate (2009): 0.8%.

Per capita GDP (2009): $26,178.

Currency: Shekel (3.82 shekels = 1 U.S. dollar; 2009 est.).

Natural resources: Copper, phosphate, bromide, potash, clay, sand, sulfur, bitumen, manganese.

Agriculture: Citrus and other fruits, vegetables, beef, dairy, and poultry products.

Industry: High-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, plastics, chemical products, diamond cutting and polishing, metal products, textiles, and footwear.

Exports (2009 est.): $50.015 billion.
Exports include polished diamonds, electronic communication, medical and scientific equipment, chemicals and chemical products, electronic components and computers, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, rubber, plastics, and textiles.

Imports (2009 est.): $55.2 billion (excluding defense imports ).
Imports include raw materials, diamonds, energy ships and airplanes, machinery, equipment, land transportation equipment for investment, and consumer goods.

Major partners: U.S., U.K., Germany.
Exports - U.S., Belgium, Hong Kong.
Imports - U.S., Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, U.K.

Israel has a diversified, technologically advanced economy with substantial but decreasing government ownership and a strong high-tech sector. The major industrial sectors include high-technology electronic and biomedical equipment, metal products, processed foods, chemicals, and transport equipment.
Israel possesses a substantial service sector and is one of the world's centers for diamond cutting and polishing. It also is a world leader en software development and, prior to the violence that began en September 2000, was a major tourist destination.


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