Key economic index rises again

Key economic index rises

The leading index of economic indicators rose a preliminary 1.3 percent in August, its fourth consecutive monthly gain, the Bank of Israel reported Tuesday. It was mainly boosted by a sharp increase in exports of goods and services but offset by a decline in industrial output, the central bank said "The rising trend in the index over recent months strengthens the forecast that a positive turnaround in economic activity is emerging," the report said. "The rise in the August index was fueled mainly by an increase in exports of goods and services. At the same time, the index shows declines in the industrial output and the trade and services components for the month July." The rise in the August state-of-the-economy index compares with a revised increase of 1.1% in July instead of the preliminary 1.2%, a revised increase of 0.7% in June, a revised increase of 0.1% in May and a revised fall of 0.5% in April. The industrial-production index dropped by 2.8% after an increase of 1.6% in June. The trade index fell by 3.3% in July after rising by 3.7% in June. The August exports-of-services index was up 7.1% after declining 16.4% in July. The exports-of-goods index grew by 4.5% in August, following a 2.5% rise in July. The imports-of-goods index was down 1.5% in August after increasing 5.7% in July. Despite encouraging signs of a recovery in the state-of-the economy index, the industrial sector is still feeling the pains of the global economic crisis. Industrial production dropped by a preliminary 4.2% in annualized terms in the months May to July after falling by an annualized 11.2% in the February-April period, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. In seasonally adjusted terms, industrial production declined by 7.8% in the January-July period. Production in the hi-tech sector fell by 4.5% in May-July, the same as in February-April. Not including the hi-tech sector, industrial output contracted by 3.7% in May-July after a sharp decline of 15.9% in February-April. Industrial production in the mixed-traditional technology sectors - rubber, plastics, metal goods and jewelry - dropped 0.8% in May-July, following a 22.7% plunge in February-April. In the mixed hi-tech sector - chemicals and electronic equipment - output fell 8.2% in May-July, following a decline of 20.2% in February-April. In the traditional industry sector - food, textiles, clothing and wood - production was down 4.6% in May-July, following a decline of 7.1% in February-April. A separate report published by the CBS on Tuesday showed that revenues of the trade and services sectors rose 4.4% in annual terms in May-July, recovering from a fall of 0.6% in February-April. In seasonally adjusted terms, revenues dropped 6.6% in January-July compared with the same period last year. Revenues of the financial institutions and insurance sector increased 14.1% in annual terms in May-July, after growing by 5.8% in February-April. Wholesale and retail revenues grew 7.2% in May-July, continuing the 2% rise in February-April. Revenues in the health and welfare services sector grew 4.9% in May-July, after rising 5.8% in February-April.