Business in Brief

Israel posts a surprise surplus in third-quarter current account.

Israel posts a surprise surplus in third-quarter current account

Israel posted a surprise $800 million surplus in its current account in the third quarter, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Sunday. The figure came after a deficit of $600 million in the second quarter and $1.3 billion in the first, and may explain the appreciation of the shekel against the dollar in recent months. The main reason for the sudden turnaround was a sharp narrowing of the deficit in primary income - which includes the flow of income from financial investments and wages between Israel and abroad - to $1.6 billon in the third quarter from $2.4 billion in the second, the CBS said. In addition, Israel's merchandise trade deficit narrowed to $2 billion in the third quarter from $2.6 billion in the second, while the service trade account had a surplus of $2.3 billion, leaving Israel with its first trade surplus since the first quarter of 2011. (Moti Bassok)


El Al may see quarterly operating loss due to Pillar of Defense

El Al Airlines said in a preliminary estimate on Sunday that last month's Pillar of Defense operation cost it a net $15 million, and $17 million of revenue, because of tickets that were not sold and reservations canceled. Operating profit will be as much as $9 million lower mostly in the fourth quarter, after taking into account cost-cutting measures the carrier took to offset the impact of the war, it said. It may end up with an operating loss for the three months, as in the fourth quarter of 2011 operating profit was just $8.2 million on revenue of $485 million. The Airports Authority reported last week that while the number of incoming flights rose in November by 5.8% from the same time in 2011 to about 3,300, the number of passengers dropped 5.55% to about 381,000. The number of outgoing passengers fell 1.3% in the month. (Yoram Gabison)


Number of unfilled job openings plunged in November

The number of unfilled job openings dropped 12.4% in November from the month before, to 59,300, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Sunday. Compared with November 2011, the decline was a more modest 4.2% but the trend has been negative since the number reached a record high last June of 73,200. The CBS said the rate of unfilled jobs to positions occupied dropped to 2.7% last month from 3.1% in October. As the number of positions across the economy rose to 2.136 million from 2.124 million. Among professions with the largest number of job openings, sales had an average of 7,220 during September-November - 11% of all job openings - while engineering has 3,501, of which 1,893 were for computer engineers. Other big categories were nursing aid (3,405 on average per month), waiters and waitresses (3,387) and building workers (3,250) . (Moti Bassok)