Private consumption in Israel continues to rise, despite indications of a slight slowdown in economic growth in the second quarter of 2004. Sales of consumer durables and electric appliances rose by a rate of 19 percent, in annual terms, while houseware and kitchenware sales increased by an annualized 20.8 percent, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data.
This is a change in trend, after electrical appliance sales fell 20.8 percent in 2003, after having fallen 13.2 percent in 2002. Houseware and kitchenware sales fell in those years by 20.7 percent in 2003, and 22.2 percent in 2002.
New car deliveries have risen since the beginning of 2004 by an annualized 33.2 percent. Once again, the increase comes in the wake of 3 straight years of decreases: automobile deliveries fell by 10.6 percent in 2003, 18.1 percent in 2002, and 8.5 percent in 2001.
Fuel sales at filling stations have grown by an annualized 6.6 percent in 2004, continuing 3-percent growth recorded last year. The rise in fuel sales continued despite a sharp increase in world fuel prices, and was due to higher private consumption and more domestic vacations taken by Israelis. Fuel prices fell 0.2 percent in 2002, and by 0.4 percent in 2001.
Total sales recorded by shopping malls, retail chains, and privately owned shops have risen by an annualized 3.7 percent since the beginning of 2004. Sales of other consumer goods, excluding electrical appliances and consumer durables, rose by a mere 1.9 percent, in annual terms. Textiles and clothing sales rose by 7.4 percent.
Only one item, food sales at supermarket chains and grocery stores, has fallen by an annualized 2 percent since the beginning of the year. However, the drop can be explained in part by shoppers returning to the open markets (souks), due to a calmer security situation, and a 4.4-percent decline in the price of fruits and vegetables, in annual terms. (Globes [online])
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