The first two quarters of 2015 have been marred by worrying figures regarding Israel’s economic growth, according to a report released Sunday by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.
According to the CBS, Israel’s gross domestic product rose by a mere 0.3% in the second quarter of 2015, compared to the first quarter rise of 2% – a stark decline from the 6.2% rise in the last quarter of 2014.
The CBS report attributed the stunted growth in GDP to a 0.9% rise in private consumption expenditure, alongside a 3.8% drop in investments in fixed assets, and a 12.5% decline in exports of goods and services. Imports of goods and services also dropped off in the first half of 2015, declining by 1.4%, after a 4.5% rise in the first half of 2014.
Private consumption expenditure per person rose by 2.8% in the first half of 2015 according to the annual calculation, after a 4.2% rise from the first half of 2014.
The annual calculation of exports of goods and services also marked a sharp decline of about 8.6% in the first half of 2015, compared to a 2.7% drop in the last two quarters of 2014.
The report also showed a 10.9% drop in agricultural exports and a stark 26.7% drop in annual diamond industry exports.
Ofer Klein, head of the economics and research branch at the Harel group said in reaction to the report: “The GDP in the second quarter reached the minimum rate of 0.3% as part of the annual rate (a 1.6% drop in the business product.) The weak growth figures are similar to those experienced during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.”
According to Harel Group, “We forecast weak growth, due to the early indicators that were at hand. But some of the figures look unusually weak and do not match taxation data and the Bank of Israel’s Composite State-of-the-Economy Index, and as such are likely to be updated and raised.”
“When examining the figures from the first two quarters of 2015 compared to the first two quarters of 2014, we receive a more accurate picture of the current state of the Israeli economy: A 4.8% growth in private expenditure, a 3.8% growth in fixed asset investment, and a drop in most of the other figures, primarily a 8.6% drop in exports. Assuming the figures are correct, we will update our growth forecast for 2015 from 3.1% to 2.5%,” Harel’s statement concluded.