Indexes Point to Accelerated Economic Recovery in Israel

The Bank of Israel's composite state-of-the-economy index rose by 0.2% in February, the central bank's research department revealed Friday.

"The increase in the index, following gains in recent months, indicates economic activity is still recovering," the Bank of Israel said in a statement.

The research department also corrected upward the composite indexes for the previous three months. The revision lifted the November 2009 index from 0.3% to 0.5%, the December index from 0.3% to 0.6% and the January index from 0.2% to 0.3%.

The researchers attributed February's increase to improvements in the imports, industrial production, services exports and the commercial and services productivity indexes. The goods exports index fell, however, pushing the composite index down slightly.

The Melnick State of the Economy Index increased by 1% in February. The index is named for Prof. Rafi Melnick of Herzliya's Interdisciplinary Center, who said rapid increases in business activity had pushed the index upward. In particular, he noted the commerce and services revenue index had increased sharply. That, Melnick said, implies domestic demand in general and private consumption in particular have expanded.

"At this stage, only the slow global recovery is stopping Israel's economy from growing at an even higher rate," Melnick said.