First-quarter economic growth down to 2.7%

Port2port News Service 
Jul 26, 2012 
The CBS revised downwards its GDP growth estimate for the first quarter of 2012
The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) of Israel revised downwards its GDP growth estimate for Q1/12, noting that Israel’s economy expanded an annualized 2.7% in the three months through March, revising the figure down for a second time as export markets stall. 
The new figure marks the fifth consecutive decline in GDP growth since it peaked at a 7.4% rate in the final quarter of 2010. The economy grew at a 3.2% rate in the third quarter of 2011 and a 3.1% rate in the final quarter, according to the CBS. 
Growth slowed from 3.1% in the previous three months. The CBS’s initial estimate for growth in the first quarter was 3%, and that was revised down to 2.9% last month. The 2.7% increase in first-quarter GDP reflects growing imports, consumer spending, investment in fixed assets and higher government spending. The area that hurt growth the most was exports, which dropped at an 8.8% annual rate in the three months. 
The CBS reported a slowdown in exports, imports, consumption, and investment growth. Business product growth fell sharply to an annualized 2.2% in the first quarter, from 3.4% in the preceding quarter and 4.4% in the third quarter of 2011. Private consumption per capita rose by an annualized 2.1% in the first quarter, after falling by an annualized 1.8% in the preceding quarter. 
However, private consumption per capita of durable goods, an indication of the standard of living, fell by an annualized 2.2% in the first quarter. This is the second consecutive quarter in which this item has fallen. Investment in residential construction rose by an annualized 10.5% in the first quarter