Mahane Yehuda
The freshest fruits and vegetables. Photo by Jacob Solomon
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The consumer price index for February fell 0.2%, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Friday.

Particularly major declines were seen in the price of fresh vegetables – which dropped by 8.5% – and clothing and shoe prices, which fell by 4.8%. Transportation and communications costs declined by 0.7%, while the price of food other than fresh fruits and vegetables dropped overall by 0.3%.

Fresh fruit prices, on the other hand, rose by 3.9%; furniture and home equipment by 0.6%; and health care costs by 0.4%. Inflation over the past 12 months was 1.2%.

The February price drop was about what had been expected. Despite the drop in prices, analysts don’t expect the Bank of Israel to lower the base lending rate for April.

In March it was reduced to 0.75%, from 1%. February’s consumer price index decline, which followed a 0.6% fall in the index in January, indicates a possible drop in demand. This assessment is also supported by other recent economic data that particularly point to a decline in spending power on the part of Israel’s poor residents.