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Business

Israel's Splendid Global Integration
By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Apr 26, 2014 - 12:15:34 AM

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1. "With more start-up businesses per capita than anywhere in the world, Israel is brimming with tantalizing investment prospects. Many Israeli stocks trade in the US, making it simple for Americans to invest in the country.... Steve Schoenfeld, chief investment officer of BlueStar Indexes: 'It's a small country with a very large global footprint, and it bats well above its average in all of the metrics that define a successful economy.' Even when much of the developed world was retrenching in 2009, Israel was able to eke out modest growth. Since then, the nation's economy has been growing at nearly twice the pace of the US economy. Its jobless rate is among the lowest in the developed world.... It is a second home to virtually every big high-tech company in the world, including Apple, Google, Intel and Microsoft (Kiplinger's Personal Finance, May 2014).

2. Times of Israel, March 28, 2014: "Israel's economy is doing well enough that the country can now be considered 'high-income,' according to Standard and Poor's in its latest evaluation of Israel's fiscal state. S&P said that with a per capita annual income of over $38,000, 'we now view Israel as a high-income economy, with trend growth at the higher end of its peer income group....' Just five years ago, per capita income was about $28,000. This is due, S&P said, to Israel's 'prosperous and diverse economy,' with a good mix of manufacturing and high-tech, and also to the benefits the economy will realize as the country's natural gas production comes online. S&P affirmed its long- and short- term foreign and local currency credit ratings for Israel at A+/A-1. Israel's economy is stable, and its prospects for growth are good, the agency said.... Aiding that growth is the extra effort the government is putting in to reduce debt as a percentage of GDP. Currently that figure is at 67%, and it is expected to drop to 61% by 2017. Inflation is expected to remain low, as well, with annual rates of between 1.4% and 2.5% predicted through 2017...."

3. Bank of Israel, key 2013 economic indicators, March 31, 2014: GDP - $300BN compared to $1.5BN in 1949; GDP growth -- 3.3% (US -- 1.7%, OECD -- 1.2%) compared to 3.4% in 2012 and 1.2% in 2009; GDP per capita - $37K ($19K in 2000); public debt per GDP -- 67.4% (US -104.1%, OECD -- 1.2%) compared to 68.2% in 2012 and 75.3% in 2009; budget deficit -- 3.2% of GDP compared to 3.9% in 2012; unemployment -- 6.2% (US -- 7.5%, OECD -- 8%) compared to 6.9% in 2012 and 9.5% in 2009; inflation -- 1.8% compared to 1.6% in 2012 and 3.9% in 2009; interest rate -- 0.75% in April, 2014.

4. Switzerland's Novartis negotiates a buyout of Israel's GamidaCell for $600MN (Globes Business Daily, March 19, 2014). Palo Alto Networks acquired Israel's (cyber security) Cyvera for $200MN (Globes, March 25). Private Equity Francisco Partners acquired Israel's (cyber security) NSO for $120MN (Globes, March 20). Opko Health initialed an agreement to acquire Israel's Inspiro Medical, its 4th Israeli acquisition in recent years, such as Prolor Biotech, Aug. 2013 - $480MN (Globes, April 23). Russia's Yandex acquired Israel's KitLocate for $20MN (Globes, March 19). SecureAlert acquired Israel's GPS Global for $11MN (Globes, March 20).

5. Israel's MediWound raised $75MN on NASDAQ (Globes, March 21). Israel's XLMedia raised $70MN on the British AIM (Globes, March 19). Israel's SimilarWeb raised a few tens of millions of dollar from South Africa's Naspers (Globes, March 21). Intel invested $15-20MN in Israel's OrCam (Globes, March 28). Scale Venture Partners led an $11MN round of private placement by Israel's WalkMe (Globes, April 2). Hong Kong's Li Ka Shing (2013 most active foreign investor in Israel) led a $10MN round of private placement by Israel's Tipa, joined by Canada's GreenSoil, which made its 3rd Israeli investment (Globes, April 23).

6. The Times of Israel, April 22, 2014: "In 2014, Israel is expected to export more to Asia than to the United States. Asian markets accounted for 21% of Israeli exports in 2013, almost the same as exports to the US.... Israeli exports to Asia are predicted to grow 4.7% in 2014.... Europe remained Israel's largest group trading partner in 2013. In 2013, 32% of Israeli exports went to Europe, and 28% went to the US.... Israeli companies developed new markets for their products and services in the Far East, particularly India and China, but also Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.... India also looms large as a destination for Israeli companies, perhaps even more so than China.... In the coming decades, growth in India is expected significantly outpace growth in China, as India's young population continues to grow at the same time that China's relatively older population begins to die off...."

7. Deutsche Welle, March 24, 2014: "The continued threat of economic boycotts targeting Israel hasn't deterred China from forging ahead with a new freight rail link through Israel. The planned link could provide an alternative to the Suez Canal, connecting the 300-plus kilometers between Eilat on the Red Sea and Ashdod Port on the Mediterranean.... The link, estimated to cost upwards of $2 billion, is expected take five years to complete.... The Inter-Disciplinary Journal of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies has said the project highlights the 'dizzying pace' at which China and Israel are forging economic and diplomatic ties.... The new rail link could provide a viable and safer alternative to the traditional Suez Canal route....

8. South Korea Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy April 18, 2014:

South Korea and Israel expand the 1999 technological cooperation agreement in such areas as unmanned aerial vehicles (Israel, through IAI and Elbit, is second only to the US!) and information security. Along with Sweden and Finland, Israel has been highly recognized as having one of the world's best cyber threat response systems. "Israel is our great benchmarking model...."

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The Ettinger Report
Straight from the Jerusalem Boardroom #193, April 25, 2014


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