Israel’s economy – let’s take stock for a minute

It’s mid September. In the Jewish calendar, the New Year begins on Wednesday night. A neat  time to look at where the local economy is going.

Well, the amazing news is that growth for 2010 will be clocked in at around 4.0%. The latest prediction from the gov stats office predicts 4.1%, which is above the Bank of Israel’s forecast of 3.7%.

To put that in to perspective, 2009 did see a small increase of 0.8%. And in 2008, the last year before meltdown, a 4.2% growth level was registered.

Individually, Israelis are expected to be 2.6% better off, as measured by spending habits. In parallel, unemployment is down to around 6.0% and still falling.

Much of the improved growth has been achieved via the success of higher exports – predicted at 13.1%. Naturally, imports too have moved ahead, as companies have replenished stocks since the recession.

Tourism is up around 23%, almost reaching for the first time the tide mark of 3 million guests. The stock exchange seems to be escaping from some summer blues and is edging up again – a net raise in the Jewish year of over 20%.

What next? Will European blues hold back the rise in exports? Can the Bank of Israel ensure a competitive local currency? Will reforms demanded by the OECD in health, education, money laundering, etc restrain change or kick start it in to new directions? Will Israel end up as a net exporter of energy – both gas and oil – changing the geopolitical structure of the region?

The next year – using the Jewish measure or otherwise – looks to be another hot one, commercially.

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