Business in Brief

Consumer price index rose sharp 0.8% in June

The consumer price index rose 0.8% in June, boosted by hikes in price-controlled products and value-added tax, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported yesterday. VAT was boosted one percentage point at the start of the month and electricity rates rose. Although the figure was high, it was in the range of forecasters, who had expected it to come out somewhere between 0.7% and 0.9%. “The CPI was actually more than double total inflation since the start of the year until June,” said Ilan Artzi, investments manager at Halman Aldubi Group. “Nevertheless, we’re talking about one-time rises of controlled products and higher taxes, not demand-driven inflation.” ‏(Shelly Appelberg‏)

Tomato-seed smuggler caught red-handed

Customers inspectors at Ben-Gurion International Airport said yesterday they had prevented a French visitor from smuggling in a vast quantity of tomato seeds. The visitor, who works for an unidentified catsup manufacturer, was caught trying to enter the country with some 17 kilograms of the seeds − a total of four million, worth some NIS 250,000, they said. Officials from the Agriculture Ministry and the Plant Protection and Inspection Service have opened an investigation, but it appears the visitor brought the seeds in connection with his work.
‏(Ora Coren and Zohar Blumenkrantz‏)

Israel’s lottery revenues rise 14%

Mifal Hapayis, Israel’s national lottery, said Sunday that it had generated NIS 2.9 billion in revenues during the first half of the year, a 14% increase over what was wagered in the first six months of 2012. The largest gain was registered by the Lotto game, with revenues totaling NIS 777 million, up from NIS 584 million the year before. Mifal Hapayis allocated NIS 467 million for local authority projects in the first half of 2013, the highest semi-annual sum ever, according to CEO Eli Dadon. ‏(Ora Coren‏)