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Israeli Economy Makes Gains in Third Quarter as Exports Spike

Israel’s economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015, largely due to an increase in private spending and exports, Reuters reported on Monday.

Israel’s economy bounced back in the third quarter after a weak first half, growing by an annualized 2.5 percent on the heels of a rebound in exports and investment, initial data showed on Monday. …

Private spending – which had been Israel’s main growth driver of late, posting gains of about 6-7 percent a quarter between the second quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 – took a breather in the second quarter, rising just 1.5 percent. But spending rebounded 2.4 percent in the third quarter.

Exports – 35 to 40 percent of economic activity – grew 4.4 percent in the July-September quarter, while investment in fixed assets rose 0.7 percent, led by residential building, and government spending rose 1.6 percent. All three components had fallen in the prior two quarters.

Last year, the Israeli economy expanded by 2.6 percent. Both the Bank of Israel and Israel’s finance ministry are predicting a growth rate of 3 percent for 2016. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shared a similar forecast earlier this month, writing, “economic growth is projected to pick up to around 3¼ per cent in 2016 and 2017. This increase in activity should keep unemployment low. A rise in the minimum wage, falling oil prices and budgetary measures to stimulate the economy will support domestic demand, while exports are likely to recover with the improvement in the global economy.”

While Israel’s economy experienced only moderate growth in the first half of the year, its high-tech sector has remained strong. Israeli startups attracted nearly $1 billion in funding during the first quarter alone. In the second quarter, Israel saw a record of $1.4 billion in private equity investments.

[Photo: Israeltourism / Flickr ]