Dollar's Weakness Raises Israeli Living Standards

Imports of consumer goods rose 9 percent from the beginning of 2006 through the end of October, compared to 2005. Consumer imports reached $4.9 billion, according to a survey conducted by Israela Many, the director of the economics division of the Israel Federation of Chambers of Commerce.

Many said that in light of the Israeli economy's recovery after the slowdown caused by the recent war, imports of consumer goods rose rapidly in November and are also expected to grow in December. She expects growth of 11 percent for all of 2006.

A large part of the increase in imports of vehicles and electrical appliances is due to the rapid drop in the dollar against the shekel, explained Many. "Continued weakening of the dollar will likely further increase the imports of such goods," she said.

Imports of major electrical appliances, such as televisions, dishwashers, and refrigirators are expected to increase 10 percent in 2006; growth of $233 million.

Israel benefited from a positive balance of payments during the third quarter of 2006, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported yesterday.

The balance was $2.4 billion in Israel's favor, which was even better results than the $1.5 billion the CBS reported for the parallel quarter from 2005.

Trade in services enjoyed a surplus of $1.1 billion during the third quarter.

On the other hand, the country experienced a negative balance for trade in goods of $694 million. All figures are seasonally adjusted.