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Revenues in the commerce and services sectors were 7.6% higher in the first 11 months of 2005 than in the same period in 2004, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Thursday, citing analyses of value added tax (VAT) receipts.
"The reason is the increase in the amount of money in the hands of the public, due to a rise in the prices of shares [on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange] and in bonds," said Shlomo Maoz, chief economist at Excellence Nessuah, noting that the Israeli public is holding 42% more money than in early 2003.
"As with the growth of the GDP, again we are seeing growth across all sectors of the economy, and that the growth is trickling down," he said, reiterating his prediction that "2006 will be one of Israel's best years."
Commerce and services revenue grew an annual 8.1% over the months of September through November, following a 9.2% rise in the summer.
Retail revenue rose 10.4% in the autumn, having advanced 5.5% in the summer, while wholesale revenue rose 6.7%, after growing 8.1% in the months June through August.
Revenue of dining and hospitality services grew 11.7% in the autumn; real estate and business services 10.5%; educational service 9.7%; and health care and welfare services each took in 0.6% more.
In a further indication of growing consumer spending, sales in chain stores grew 5.2% in fixed prices in 2005, following a 4.3% rise in 2004, the CBS said separately on Thursday.
Food sales in the retail chains grew only 0.9% in 2005, having slipped 0.3% the year before. In the months of October through December, food sales were stable, following 1.5% annual growth over the three previous months.
Overall sales in chain stores grew 5.2% in annual terms over the last three months of 2005, following a 7.7% surge over the months July through September.
Meanwhile, manufacturing production grew 4.2% in the first eleven months of 2005, in comparison with the same months the year before, the CBS said.
In the autumn of 2005, industrial production grew 7.4% and boosting the sector's work force by 2.4%, both in annual terms.
Industrial production grew 7% in the whole of 2004, while the sector increased its work force by 1.1%.
Hours worked grew 2.4% in annual terms in the months August through October 2005, against a 0.8% rise for the whole of 2004.