Prices Up Slightly in March

YERUSHALAYIM -

Price in Israel rose 0.3 percent in March over the previous month, a major surprise for economists who had expected a 0.1 percent increase for the month, the Central Bureau of Statistics said. The inflation number was a welcome change after the negative inflation (deflation) numbers of 0.2 percent recorded in January, with no change in February.

That places inflation for 2017 so far at 0.1 percent. The total inflation rate for 2016 was 0.9 percent. According to economists, the increase in prices in March was a positive sign for the economy, which has gotten much more robust of late. The Bank of Israel’s inflation target for 2017 is 1 percent to 3 percent, and at current rates, analysts said that the economy could reach the lower of those figures.

Price increases were recorded in the areas of clothing (4.9 percent), entertainment (1 percent) and rent (0.8 percent). Price decreases included those in public transportation and communications (-0.5 percent). The price index for housing, which is calculated separately from the standard inflation rate, showed housing prices increasing in January and February by 0.1 percent over their levels in December. Housing prices were up 6 percent during the period between March 2016 and 2017.