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    Israel Economy - 1990

      Overview: Israel has a market economy with substantial government participation. It depends on imports for crude oil, food, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has developed its agriculture and industry sectors on an intensive scale over the past 20 years. Industry accounts for about 23% of the labor force, agriculture for 6%, and services for most of the balance. Diamonds, high-technology machinery, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the biggest export earners. The balance of payments has traditionally been negative, but is offset by large transfer payments and foreign loans. Nearly two-thirds of Israel's $16 billion external debt is owed to the US, which is its major source for economic and military aid. To earn needed foreign exchange, Israel must continue to exploit high-technology niches in the international market, such as medical scanning equipment. In 1987 the economy showed a 5.2% growth in real GNP, the best gain in nearly a decade; in 1988-89 the gain was only 1% annually, largely because of the economic impact of the Palestinian uprising (intifadah). Inflation dropped from an annual rate of over 400% in 1984 to about 16% in 1987-88 without any major increase in unemployment.

      GNP: $38 billion, per capita $8,700; real growth rate 1% (1989)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 20% (1989)

      Unemployment rate: 9% (December 1989)

      Budget: revenues $24.2 billion; expenditures $26.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $7 billion (FY89 est.)

      Exports: $10.4 billion (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities--polished diamonds, citrus and other fruits, textiles and clothing, processed foods, fertilizer and chemical products, military hardware, electronics; partners--US, UK, FRG, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy

      Imports: $12.4 billion (c.i.f., 1989 est.); commodities--military equipment, rough diamonds, oil, chemicals, machinery, iron and steel, cereals, textiles, vehicles, ships, aircraft; partners--US, FRG, UK, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg

      External debt: $16.4 billion (March 1989)

      Industrial production: growth rate - 1.5% (1989)

      Electricity: 4,392,000 kW capacity; 17,500 million kWh produced, 4,000 kWh per capita (1989)

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

      Agriculture: accounts for 5% of GNP; largely self-sufficient in food production, except for bread grains; principal products--citrus and other fruits, vegetables, cotton; livestock products--beef, dairy, and poultry

      Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $15.8 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $2.2 billion

      Currency: new Israeli shekel (plural--shekels); 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot

      Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1--1.9450 (January 1990), 1.9164 (1989), 1.5989 (1988), 1.5946 (1987), 1.4878 (1986), 1.1788 (1985)

      Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March

      NOTE: The information regarding Israel on this page is re-published from the 1990 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Israel Economy 1990 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Israel Economy 1990 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 07-Feb-03
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