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Israel Economy 1996

    • Overview:
      Israel has a market economy with substantial government participation. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Industry employs about 22% of Israeli workers, construction 6.5%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 3.5%, and services most of the rest. Israel is largely self-sufficient in food production except for grains. Diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are leading exports. Israel usually posts current account deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans. Roughly half of the government's external debt is owed to the United States, which is its major source of economic and military aid. To earn needed foreign exchange, Israel has been targeting high-technology niches in international markets, such as medical scanning equipment. The influx of Jewish immigrants from the former USSR, which topped 450,000 during the period 1990-94, increased unemployment, intensified housing problems, and strained the government budget. At the same time, the immigrants bring to the economy valuable scientific and professional expertise.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $70.1 billion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:
      6.8% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $13,880 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      14.5% (1994)

    • Unemployment rate:
      7.5% (1994 est.)

    • Budget:

        $42.3 billion

        $45.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $11.1 billion (FY92/93)

    • Exports:
      $16.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

        machinery and equipment, cut diamonds, chemicals, textiles and apparel, agricultural products, metals

        US, EU, Japan

    • Imports:
      $22.5 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)

        military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, oil, other productive inputs, consumer goods

        EU, US, Japan

    • External debt:
      $25.9 billion (November 1994 est.)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate 8% (1994 est.); accounts for about 30% of GDP

    • Electricity:

        4,140,000 kW

        23 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        4,290 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      food processing, diamond cutting and polishing, textiles and apparel, chemicals, metal products, military equipment, transport equipment, electrical equipment, miscellaneous machinery, potash mining, high-technology electronics, tourism

    • Agriculture:
      citrus and other fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products

    • Illicit drugs:
      increasingly concerned about cocaine and heroin abuse and trafficking

    • Economic aid:

        US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-90), $18.2 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $2.8 billion

    • Currency:
      1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot

    • Exchange rates:
      new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1 - 3.070 (December 1994), 3.0111 (1994), 2.8301 (1993), 2.4591 (1992), 2.2791 (1991), 2.0162 (1990), 1.9164 (1989)

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year (since 1 January 1992)

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