Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 2.8% in the first quarter of 2013, seasonally adjusted from the previous quarter, following a 2.6% growth in the previous three months and a 2.8% increase in the third quarter of 2012, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, according to initial estimates based on partial data received so far.
The CBS data further revealed that the business sector GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2% (following a 3.4% increase in the previous quarter and a 2.9% increase in the third quarter of 2012), private spending rose 5.6%, exports jumped 13.5%, investment in fixed assets dropped 14.7%, and government spending slid 7.3%.
According to the CBS, the rise in GDP in the first quarter of the year reflects an increase in exports and private spending, a moderate rise in imports and declines in investment in fixed assets and in government spending.
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The CBS added that these findings should be taken cautiously due to sharp fluctuations in quarterly data, which make it difficult to analyze trends and locate turning points in Israel's economic activity. The early estimates will be updated once the full figures are received.
Imports of goods and services rose 2.5% in the first quarter of the year, following a 14.9% decrease in the previous quarter.
This increase reflects a moderate growth in the import of civilian goods at an annualized rate of 1.8%, and a an annualized increase of 42.6% in the import of services (including software services, transportation, communications and tourism services).
The import of goods and services excluding security-related imports, vessels, aircraft and diamonds, dropped 2.6% in the first quarter of 2013, following a 14.3% annualized drop in the previous quarter.