Israeli economy has slowed to crawl, new figures show
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Israeli economy has slowed to crawl, new figures show

Cost of living is up and trade and services have dropped by over 10% in past year, stats office says

A homeless man sleeping in front of a department store in Jerusalem on December 4, 2014. (Danielle Shitrit/Flash90)
A homeless man sleeping in front of a department store in Jerusalem on December 4, 2014. (Danielle Shitrit/Flash90)

Israel’s economy experienced a major slowdown since the end of 2014, with the GDP growing just 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2015 and a negligible 0.1 percent in the second quarter.

Statistics published Thursday by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that trade and services dropped in the first half of 2015 by 7.7 percent, in addition to the 2.8 percent in the second half of 2014.

The country’s private consumption expenditure, a measure of the changes in prices for consumer goods and services, rose by 5 percent in the past year, and the PCE per capita rose by 2.9 percent, indicating a rise in food, rent, fuel and service prices for Israelis.

At the same time, cost of living for Tel Aviv residents was shown to be the highest in the Middle East, according to a new report by a Swiss bank, UBS.

In layman’s terms: average Tel Aviv residents don’t earn what it takes to pay for goods in services.

Prices in Tel Aviv were calculated by UBS to be about 61.4 percent of those in New York, including rent, but wages just 47.2 percent and purchasing power just 72.6 percent, making the city the most expensive in the Middle East and 22nd in the world.

The study found that the average Tel Aviv worker must put in 21 minutes at work to earn enough to buy a Big Mac, 12 minutes to buy a kilo (2 pounds) of bread, 12 minutes to buy the same amount of rice, and a staggering 75 hours to afford an iPhone 6.

New Yorkers, by comparison need to work just 11 minutes for a Big Mac and 24 hours for an iPhone.

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