First Quarter GDP Revised to 2.9% Annualized

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli economy grew an annualized 2.9% in the first quarter of 2013, slightly faster than previously estimated due to higher growth in exports and consumer spending and to a less steep drop in investment, the Central Bureau of Statistics said this week.

Growth is projected at 2.8% this year, Globes reports, excluding the start of natural-gas production at a large well near the Mediterranean coast, which is expected to add about 1 percentage point to the GDP.

GDP growth was 3.2% in 2012. Partly to encourage economic growth, the Bank of Israel cut its benchmark lending rate to 1.25% in two quarter-point moves in May, although it held its key rate at its last meeting in June.

Exports — which account for some 40% of Israel’s economic activity — grew 15.2% in the first three months of 2013, above a prior estimate of 12.8% in the first three months of 2013. But excluding diamonds and start-up companies, exports gained 4.3%.