Jerusalem, 22 February 2000

Israel GDP for 2nd Half of 1999 is 5.4%

(Communicated by the Central Bureau of Statistics Spokesman)

The Central Bureau of Statistics reports that Israels Gross Domestic Product grew by 5.4% in annual terms in the second half of 1999, compared to 0.1% in the first half of the year. The increases in third and fourth quarter GDP was 4.4% and 4.7%, respectively.

The increase largely derived from a 15.6% increase in exports of goods and services, compared to 7.6% in the first half of 1999. Public and private consumption rose by 6.6% in annual terms, compared to 3.8% in the first half of the year. After correcting for seasonal influences, Commercial Product rose 6.5% in the second half of 1999 (-0.6% in the fist half); total available resources (GDP + imports) rose by 9.4% (5.5%); private consumption rose 6.9% and by 4.3% per capita (0.5%).

Investment in fixed assets declined by 3.7% in the second half of 1999, after rising 7.5% in the first half, because of the decline in purchases of aircraft and ships. Excluding these, investments in fixed assets rose 3.8% in the second half of 1999, compared to a decline of 3.1% in the first half. Investments in other sectors (excluding ships and aircraft) grew more slowly, by only 1.8%, compared to 5% in the first half of 1999, reflecting a 24% decline in housing and infrastructure construction (roads, sewers, water, communications lines etc.)

Housing construction declined by 9.7% in annual terms, following a decline of between 7-11% in each of the four previous halves. Construction of public housing declined even more sharply by 21.6% in the second half of the year.

Exports of goods and services, as noted, grew by 15.6% compared to 7.9% in the first half of the year. The breakdown by sector is as follows (first half figures in parentheses): Other services (including software) 21.2% (14.3%); industrial products 15.3% (2.6%); agricultural products 16.9% (-19.5%); tourism revenue 13.6% (8.0%); diamonds 18.6% (19.7%). Imports of goods and services (excluding defense imports) rose 12.8% (21.4%) in fixed prices.