New Survey Reveals Pessimistic Outlook for Israel's Economic Future

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Two women walk in front of a shuttered bureau de change, August 4, 2020.
Two women walk in front of a shuttered bureau de change, August 4, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Israeli executives expressed growing pessimism regarding expectations for business and the economy as summer progresses, according to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics in July.

The monthly survey focuses on the outlook for the following month.

The survey results, published Wednesday, found that expectations in the manufacturing sector worsened by every measure, including anticipated orders from Israel and abroad, production and employment in August compared to July.

Expectations in the construction, retail, wholesale and services sectors worsened across the board as well.

The hotels sector expressed a slight improvement in terms of the number of room nights it expected to see Israelis book in August this year, versus August last year, given that Israelis are not traveling abroad for vacations.

Israel’s retail sector expected sales to decline in August versus July.

The Bank of Israel’s survey of companies, conducted most recently from mid-June through late July, found that the contraction brought the net balance in the business sector to a very negative level, lower than even in Israel’s last two financial crises in the first quarter of 2009 and in 2001-02.

Israel is in the middle of a second wave of infections of the novel coronavirus, and economic activity has been limited in an attempt to stop the virus’s spread.