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BoI sees lower growth in 2014 due to budget

The newly enacted state budget for 2013 and 2014 will likely cut Israel's economic growth by a 0.7 percentage point next year due to lowering consumer spending, the Bank of Israel said in its semi-annual monetary report published yesterday. It attributed the lower growth to tax hikes and cuts in child allowances. However, the central bank pointed out that, despite their heavy toll on economic growth, the measures are necessary to keep the fiscal deficit from ballooning to nearly 6% of gross domestic product next year. The Bank of Israel's GDP growth forecast for 2014 is 3.2%, including the contribution of natural gas, compared with 3.8% for 2013. (Moti Bassok)

Better Place buyers given payment extension

The Sunrise group was granted an extension by Lod District Court Judge Ilan Shiloh yesterday to make the payment due on its purchase of electric car operator Better Place. The group, however, was ordered to pay an advance of NIS 1 million toward the intellectual property of the once high-flying electric vehicle refueling company. Sunrise claimed it withheld payment because Better Place's inventory of unsold cars couldn't be sold due to obstructions imposed by the Transportation Ministry. Shiloh permitted Sunrise to make its first payment, NIS 3.5 million, within r three weeks at the latest even if the license isn't approved. (Daniel Schmil and Yasmin Gueta)

Citigroup launches financial accelerator

The U.S. bank Citigroup said yesterday it is opening a high-tech accelerator that will host entrepreneurs specializing in financial services. It said it would open its doors later this year to the first group of between five to 10 startups. The program, which will be conducted at Citigroup’s innovation center in Ramat Hahayal, is designed for companies developing technological products for the global financial industry. Citi won't invest in the startups and won't ask for a stake in equity in return for their participation in the program. The deadline to apply is August 21. (Inbal Orpaz)