Housing to play bigger role in future inflation indices

The cost of housing will have a bigger impact on the consumer price index while education and culture will have less, under a new consumer price basket unveiled by the Central Bureau of Statistics yesterday. Under the basket of goods, which the bureau uses to calculate monthly inflation, housing will make up 25.2%, up from 24.4% previously. The biggest change is in education, culture and entertainment, which drops from 12.5% in the old basket to just 11.7% in the new. The components for food (16.5% of the basket from now on ) and transportation and communications (20.6% ) remains about the same, the bureau said. The new weightings, which were derived from surveys of household expenditures taken in 2010 and 2011, go into effect with the January CPI, to be published this Friday. (Moti Bassok )

Car imports up 14% in January

The number of private vehicles imported into Israel last month jumped 14% to 19,187 from 16,850 a year ago, according to Israel Tax Authority figures released yesterday. Imports of commercial vehicles saw an even sharper 33% increase. Meanwhile, trends for imports of consumer durables were mixed. There was a 38% year-over-year increase for refrigerators thanks to the government's trade-in program aimed at encouraging energy savings, while the import of washing machines rose 5%. But television imports dropped 17%, dryer imports by 31% and imports for both dishwashers and DVD players fell 52% from the previous year. (Moti Bassok )

Leviev recruits partner for Channel 9

Africa-Israel Investments and its controlling shareholder Lev Leviev, joint owners of the Russian-language Channel 9 television station Vash Telekanal, have brought in a new strategic partner. An investor group headed by Alexander Levin is buying a 48% stake in Channel 9, which will bring Africa-Israel's and Leviev's stakes to 24% each. No further details of the deal were reported. The sellers hope that the experience in Russian-language television that Levin's group has will help boost the station's ratings,Africa-Israel said. Leviev and Africa-Israel have reportedly invested NIS 150 million in Channel 9 since it was launched in 2002, but the company is saddled with NIS 96 million of debt. (Nati Tucker )

Apple hires employees laid off by Texas Instruments

Apple, which began operating in Israel just last year, has hired an estimated 120 of the 250 people laid off from the Texas Instruments development center in Ra'anana last November. Apple human resources staff from California arrived in Israel two months ago to interview all 250 of the former TI staff and then winnowed down the list. A few have already begun working out of its Herzliya facilities, but most will likely eventually be transferred either to Apple's research and development center in Haifa, which develops processors, or a third R&D center planned for somewhere in the center of the country, sources said. (Inbal Orpaz )