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Israel Economic Statistics: 1999 Inflation Lowest in 30 Years

(January 2000)

Israel enjoyed its lowest rate of inflation in more than three decades last year, as consumer prices edged up just 1.3 percent, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said on January 7, 2000. It was the lowest level of inflation since 1967, when the consumer price index (CPI) rose just 0.2%. It was also lower than U.S. inflation, which was 2.7% last year.

The 1999 CPI was weighed down partly by deflation in the first quarter, but the spike in prices the economy experienced in the autumn had tailed off by the end of the year. The CBS reported Friday that the December CPI was unchanged following an 0.2% decline in November.

The 1999 CPI was kept low first and foremost by housing prices, which fell 0.9% over the course of the year. Discounting housing prices, the CPI rose 2% in 1999. Clothing prices, which account for a much smaller portion of the index, fell 4%, and prices of furniture and household items dropped by 1.4%. Transportation and communication prices rose only 0.8%. Fresh produce prices, always a volatile part of the CPI, jumped 6.5%. Overall food prices rose 2.9%, health costs by 4.9%, and education, entertainment, and culture by 3.3%.

Sources: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics