Economy of Israel

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Israel > Map Economy History

Economy - overview: Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with substantial government participation. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Israel is largely self-sufficient in food production except for grains. Cuts diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the leading exports. Israel usually posts sizable current account deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans. Roughly half of the government's external debt is owed to the US, which is its major source of economic and military aid. The influx of Jewish immigrants from the former USSR topped 750,000 during the period 1989-99, bringing the population of Israel from the former Soviet Union to 1 million, one-sixth of the total population, and adding scientific and professional expertise of substantial value for the economy's future. The influx, coupled with the opening of new markets at the end of the Cold War, energized Israel's economy, which grew rapidly in the early 1990s. But growth began moderating in 1996 when the government imposed tighter fiscal and monetary policies and the immigration bonus petered out. Growth was a strong 5.9% in 2000. But the outbreak of Palestinian unrest in late September and the collapse of the BARAK Government - coupled with a cooling off in the high-technology and tourist sectors - undercut the boom and foreshadows a slowdown to 2%-3% in 2001.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $110.2 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.1% (1999 est.), 5.9% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $18,900 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  4%
industry:  37%
services:  59% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.9% (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.3% (1999 est.), 0.1% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 2.4 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: public services 31.2%, manufacturing 20.2%, finance and business 13.1%, commerce 12.8%, construction 7.5%, personal and other services 6.4%, transport, storage, and communications 6.2%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 2.6% (1996)
Unemployment rate: 9.1% (1999 est.), 9% (2000 est.)
Budget:
revenues:  $40 billion
expenditures:  $42.4 billion (2000 est.)
Industries: high-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, diamond cutting
Industrial production growth rate: 5.4% (1996), 7% (2000)
Electricity - production: 35.437 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel:  99.89%
hydro:  0.11%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 31.899 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 1.061 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 4 million kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products
Exports: $23.5 billion (f.o.b., 1999), $31.5 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel
Exports - partners: US 36%, UK 6%, Benelux 5%, Hong Kong 4%, Netherlands 4% (1999)
Imports: $30.6 billion (f.o.b., 1999), $35.1 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, consumer goods
Imports - partners: US 20%, Benelux 11%, Germany 8%, UK 8%, Switzerland 6%, Italy 5% (1999)
Debt - external: $18.7 billion (1997), $38 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $1.1 billion from the US (1999)
Currency: new Israeli shekel (ILS)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Israel > Map Economy History