Services exports data for December and for full-year 2016

February 22, 2017

Bottom line:  Service exports closed out a banner year with a record-breaking performance in December — the first month ever in which service exports topped $4bn. After stability in 2015, service exports resumed their rapid growth path in 2016, with over 10% growth overall, led by a 14% jump in high-tech sectors.


  • Total service exports for December reached $4.18bn, compared to $3.5bn in December 2015 and surpassing the record for a single month, of $3.96, set in June 2013.
  • The driving force behind this renewed surge was the strong rise in high-tech service exports, primarily software and consultancy. These totaled $19.5bn in 2016, compared to $17.1bn in 2015.
  • These high-tech data reflect the new methodology employed by the Central Bureau of Statistics for service exports, which excludes sale of start-up companies from overall high-tech exports.
  • Export revenues from the sale of start-up companies, as a stand-along item, was the outstanding feature of the year, far surpassing the general expansion of high-tech exports. Start-up sales more than triple compared to 2015, to total $1.67bn. — by far the highest total since the $2.4bn garnered in 2013.
  • Scientific R&D, net of start-up sales, totaled $4.4bn, another record-breaking achievement.
  • Revenues from ‘computer programming, data processing, etc.’ — the backbone of high-tech service exports, rose 16% in 2016, to $13.1bn.
  • Outside of the high-tech sector, most sectors posted declines. Transportation — primarily shipping — was hit by the downturn in global trade, but revenues from sectors including manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications were all lower last year.

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