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Israel: May-June macroeconomic data show no sign recession is ending

By Moti Bassok
July 30, 2002


The economic figures for May and June, published yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, do not indicate that the economy is pulling out of the recession as was expected.

While industrial production went up in the first five months, itself a positive marker, the economy as a whole is still in deep recession. Industrial production went up 4 percent in May (in annual terms compared to the previous month) after a 5 percent climb in April, 3 percent in March, 2 percent in February and 1 percent in January.

The number of tourist overnights fell 18 percent in June, continuing the downward trend since October 2000.

Sales in the large retail stores, which account for about one-quarter of the retail industry, fell 2 percent in June and 2-3 percent in December through May.

Import of industrial equipment went up an impressive 22 percent in June, after a 20 percent jump in May, 12 percent climb in April and 3 percent rise in March.

In June exports fell 3 percent, the same figure as in May, after falls of 4-5 percent a month between December 2001 and April 2002.

The trade deficit grew to $364 million in June, or $4.37 billion in annual terms.