IMF sees moderate economic growth for Israel

Jerusalem, April 9: Israel’s economic growth and unemployment rate are both expected to go up in coming future against the backdrop of a stronger global economic recovery, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday.

Israel’s economic growth will increase from this year’s 3.2 percent to 3.4 percent in 2015, driven mainly by the start of gas production from the country’s offshore Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, Xinhua quoted the IMF as saying in its biannual economic forecast, the World Economic Outlook 2014.

The IMF forecast is more optimistic than that of Israel’s central bank. The latter expects only a three-percent growth in 2014.

But it also warned that the unemployment rate in Israel is expected to rise from 6.4 percent in 2013 to 6.7 percent this year.

The country’s Jewish ultra-Orthodox men and Arab women are more likely to become jobless as a result of both their own traditional society and a discriminatory labour market.

The ultra-Orthodox make up about ten percent of Israel’s eight million population, while the Arabs constitute some 20 percent. Almost half of these communities live in poverty.