Israel’s GDP sees lower-than-expected 2.4-pct decrease in 2020: report

Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 2.4 percent in 2020 from a year ago, but it was lower than the government’s estimates, a report said on Tuesday.

This decrease came after the Israeli GDP increased by 3.4 percent in 2019 and 3.5 percent in 2018, according to an annual report released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

The contraction of the Israeli economy in 2020 was caused by the coronavirus crisis and the steps taken by the government to curb the virus spread, the report said.

However, the GDP contraction is lower than the recent estimates by the Bank of Israel and the Ministry of Finance, which expected a contraction of 3.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

Israel’s population grew by nearly 1.8 percent in 2020, so the GDP per capita decreased by 4.1 percent last year, following a 1.5 percent increase in 2019.

Israel’s private consumption expenditure decreased by 9.4 percent in 2020, after rising 3.8 percent in 2019, while public consumption expenditure increased by 2.9 percent in 2020, compared with a 2.8-percent increase in the previous year.

The report also shows that Israel’s goods and services exports rose by 0.6 percent in 2020, following a 4-percent increase in 2019 and a 6.4-percent rise in 2018.

Israel’s imports of goods and services dropped 8.1 percent in 2020, the sharpest decline since 2009, according to the report.