Business in Brief

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The domestic credit card industry grew a robust 8.8 percent last year, as Israelis rang up some NIS 10 billion more in charges over 2004, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data. Total charges by private customers registered NIS 120 billion. Service-related charges, which comprise 19 percent of all transactions, surged ahead 14 percent - thanks mostly to people taking advantage of paying municipal and government bills with plastic. Food industry charges, which make up 21 percent of all sales, increased a more modest 5.5 percent. According to credit card company data, Isracard boasts 1,8 million customers, while Leumi Card and Visa CAL each have 1.2 million card-holders. (Ram Dagan)

Credit in the economy declined last month by NIS 9.5 billion from November, to NIS 704.4 billion, according to Bank of Israel statistics published over the weekend. On the other hand, that figure reflected a NIS 13.1 billion rise over December 2004. Most credit, NIS 247.7 billion, was linked to the consumer price index, up NIS 3.6 billion from the previous year. Unlinked credit stood at NIS 236.8 billion. Credit in foreign currency sagged NIS 9.1 billion from the previous December, to NIS 125.3 billion in December 2005. (Moti Bassok)



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