Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday ruled out a quick return to the high
economic growth of the past few years, saying Israel would suffer from the high
level of global uncertainty.
“I cannot promise a continuation of 5
percent growth in the coming years,” he said at the annual Landmark Ventures
Israel Dealmakers Summit in Tel Aviv. “As Europe stands on the brink of
collapse, we must not ignore the fact that the Israeli economy and Israeli
exporters in particular are already experiencing the effects.”
economy grew at a rate of 4.8% in both 2010 and 2011, but preliminary estimates
released last week by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed it grew at an
annual rate of just 3.6% in the second half of 2011. The Finance Ministry, the
Bank of Israel and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
estimate the economy should grow at between 2.8%-3.2% this year.
before an audience of about 1,000 business and venture-capital leaders, Steinitz
said the Israeli economy would continue to grow despite the crisis. He
emphasized that investments in non-financial Israeli companies rose by 35% last
year. The government would continue to prioritize attracting new foreign
investments, he said.
Steinitz said the government must take some of the
credit for the strong interest shown by investors. The implementation of a
two-year budget and the decision not to overspend sent them “a very important
message,” he said.
Citibank and Barclays already operate R&D centers
here, Steinitz said, and Apple is looking to open one, its first outside the
He also cited a report in Globes
on Sunday that the
Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private-equity fund, intends to invest
hundreds of millions of dollars in Israel through a joint venture with Markstone
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