State of economy index up another 0.6%

The composite state-of-the-economy index rose 0.6 percent in December on the back of strong growth in services exports and imports over the past two months.

The composite state-of-the-economy index rose 0.6 percent in December on the back of strong growth in services exports and imports over the past two months. "The rise in the December index was affected by a rise in all its components; imports and exports of goods, exports of services, the index of manufacturing production and the index of trade and services revenues," said the Bank of Israel in its monthly report released Sunday, noting that the growth testified to the continued rapid expansion of economic activity. The services exports index increased by 14.7% in December, after dropping sharply by 19.5% in the previous month, while at the same time, the imports index rose by 4.9% after falling by 2.1% in November. The goods exports index showed a moderate rise of 0.9% in December in comparison to a rise of 2.3% in November. The central bank also readjusted the index data for the October-November period upward from a moderate increase of 0.1% to 0.4%, following sharp readjustments in data from the Central Bureau of Statistics in the index of trade and services revenues and the index of manufacturing production for October. The index of manufacturing production rose "sharply" in November by 2%, after falling 0.3% in October. The trade and services revenue index rose in November by 1.2%, after dropping 0.2% in October. On a 12-month account, the composite state-of-the-economy index rose at an average rate of 7.3% compared with an average rise of 7% in 2005. Meanwhile, the "Melnick Index," a monthly measure of the state of the economy published by the Interdisciplinary Center Herzilya, rose by 0.5% in December, adding support to the central bank's statement that the growth momentum of the economy was continuing. "The rise in the index is a reflection of the continued and fast growth rate in the manufacturing production index, proceeds of trade and services sector and in private consumption," said Prof. Rafi Melnick, Dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC. In 2006, the Melnick index rose at an average rate of 7.2%, while manufacturing production increased at an annualized average of 8.8%, trade and services sector was up by an average rate of 8.8% and import by an average of 6.2%.