August 19, 2018
Bottom line: The economy is continuing to grow rapidly, driven by domestic consumption. However, the data for both Q1 and Q2 were massively distorted by sharp swings in vehicle imports — which soared in Q1 but slumped in Q2. More important is the ongoing decline in investment in residential construction and in new plant and equipment, other than vehicles. Export growth was sluggish, while import growth was strong — the external sector continues to be a drag on growth.
August 19, 2018
May 16, 2018
Bottom line: Déjà vu all over again. The boom in vehicle imports is back, stronger than (almost) ever. That made consumption and investment the twin drivers of growth, while imports surged three times as much as exports, so that the external sector once again dragged growth down instead of contributing to it.
January 25, 2018
Bottom line: November was an(other) excellent month for service exports, which are continuing to achieve rapid rates of expansion across the board, not just in the high-tech sectors. While it is the latter that provide the main thrust, both in the narrow context of service exports and for the overall economy, the strength of the tourist sector — despite the continued rise in the shekels’s value! — is also very significant for the labour market and hence from a socio-political perspective.
January 11, 2018
Bottom line: The deficit on trade in goods for 2017 widened significantly compared to 2016 — which had jumped sharply — after having narrowed in the first half of the year. Once again, the primary driver was higher fuel prices, which alone accounted for 60% of the total year-on-year increase. Vehicle imports, on the other hand, dropped. Overall import growth was low, but still exceeded export growth. Exports were held back by weakness in electronics, although some other sectors scored strong gains.
January 1, 2018
Bottom line: Chugging along nicely. No big surprises, good or bad, in the early estimate for full-year data that the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) traditionally publishes on December 31. The growth was entirely domestically-generated, while import growth exceeded export growth, shrinking the surplus on current account.
20th August 2017
Bottom line: Service exports continue to expand, but this is despite the sale of start-up companies, which have been very sluggish since January. High-tech service exports — other than start-ups — are continuing to expand at a healthy — but no longer dramatic — pace. Tourist services proved to be the star performer in the first half of 2017.