The Central Bureau of Statistics has released a negative report pointing to a decline in the Israeli economy. The few positive figures included in the report are still worse than in previous months.
The figures reveal that the total export of services fell by 4.5% in October, amounting to just $2.2 billion, following a lower drop of 1.8% in September. The export of business services dropped 8.4% compared to the previous month, with revenues from tourism falling by 2.5%.
It should be noted that the data are seasonally adjusted, considering the fact that some of the High Holidays took place in October. Without the seasonal adjustment, the declines would have been sharper.
A 2.9% drop was recorded in industrial production in August through October, excluding the high-tech industry. The entire industry, including high-tech, registered a 3.5% increase.
A sharp 4.6% decline was recorded in the proceeds from sales to the local market of Israel's
industrial factories. The same period also saw a 0.4% drop in the number of hired workers' jobs in the manufacturing industry and a sharp 2.7% drop in the number of working hours in industrial factories.
Things are not looking good in terms of the proceeds of all industries either. Although August through October saw a 3.3% increase in the income according to an annual calculation, May to July recorded a double increase of 6.5%.
In the commerce and services industries the rise in proceeds is even lower, just 2.8%, compared to 6.1% in May through July. The manufacturing industry saw a 5.8% rise in proceeds in August through October compared to 10.4% in May through July.
The report points to a significant regression in Israel's economic activity in the end of the summer and beginning of the fall. According to estimates, this trend continued and even increased in November.
The Bank of Israel decided Monday to cut its benchmark interest rate to 1.75%
- dropping below 2% for the first time since September 2010.
The central bank's Monetary Committee made the decision to lower its key rate by 0.25% after receiving the Research Department's growth forecast for 2013, which was revised downward to 2.8%, compared with 3% in the previous forecast.
The committee members noted in a statement that the decision was made in light of "a continuation of the slowdown in activity, which can be seen in the Composite State-of-the-Economy Index.
"The results of various surveys of activity also indicate continued slowdown. The source of the weakness in activity is apparently related to a slowdown in exports due to weakness in global markets, a slowdown in world trade, and the effects of Operation Pillar of Defense."