The Israeli economy jumped by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2019, the Central Bureau of Statistics said. This was the among the biggest single-quarter growth rates for the economy. The last time the growth rate was over 5% was in the second quarter of 2016, when growth was 5.8%.
The growth was a significant improvement over previous quarters, but represented a continuation of a trend. In the first quarter of 2018, the economy grew by just 1%, but by the third quarter growth reached 2.8%, and in the fourth quarter it was 3.9%. The 5.2% growth rate was more than growth for all of 2017, when the rate was 5% for the year.
Economists said that the growth was fueled by an increase in consumer spending, which rose by an unusual amount as Israelis purchased cars ahead of a tax increase. However, there were other factors at play as well, such as a 4.9% increase in exports, exclusive of diamonds and high-tech.