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International Monetary Fund. Communications Department

Abstract

It is a great honor to deliver the Per Jacobsson Foundation Lecture, and I thank the organizers for inviting me. Per Jacobsson, a Swede, was the third Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), serving from 1956 to 1963. During his tenure, the Fund supported the return to convertibility of the major European currencies, increased its resources by securing the General Arrangements to Borrow, and established the Compensatory Financing Facility to help member countries cope with temporary fluctuations in international payments.

International Monetary Fund

This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Israeli economy is in the midst of a deep recession. Waning exports and investment, combined with stagnant private consumption, led to negative growth in 2001 and 2002. The stagnation can be attributed to the burst of the technology bubble, the global slowdown, and the deterioration in the security situation. Recently, some indicators suggested that economic activity is stabilizing, but there are no signs of recovery in sight. On the structural front, the government has pushed forward a broad-based tax reform and introduced some labor market reform measures.

International Monetary Fund

This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that Israel’s economic recovery is under way after a prolonged recession. Growth is being supported by more favorable global economic conditions, an improvement in the security situation, and appropriate policies, which have included tightening the fiscal stance and easing monetary policy. Real GDP grew by an estimated 4.3 percent in 2004, with exports and private consumption leading the way. The economy is expected to continue to strengthen, albeit at a slightly lower growth rate in 2005.

International Monetary Fund

This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that strong macroeconomic conditions and sound domestic policies have significantly improved Israel’s growth performance and prospects, notwithstanding political uncertainties and the hostilities in the north during the summer of 2006. Inflation pressures are subdued, and monetary policy has been easing as of late. Financial soundness indicators have been recovering although some weaknesses on bank balance sheets that relate mainly to previous boom–bust cycles remain. For 2007, real GDP growth is forecast about 4½ percent.

International Monetary Fund

The staff report for the 2008 Article IV Consultation of Israel on economic developments and policies is examined. Fiscal and monetary credentials have been established in markets. Banks and their supervisory arrangements have been robust, and growth has been strong, sustained, and balanced. Although public debt is much reduced, to about 80 percent of GDP, it remains vulnerable. Although domestic securities prices tracked those abroad downward, prompting outflows from provident funds, flows in domestic credit markets remained largely undisturbed.

International Monetary Fund

This 2012 Article IV Consultation reports that Israel has emerged from the 2008–09 global crisis with strong economic growth, a resilient banking system, and unemployment at historic lows. Exports, at 40 percent of GDP, depend on global demand for high-technology products, such as electronics and pharmaceuticals, and communications. One-third of exports go directly to Europe, with more routed there indirectly. Given the country’s weak direct trade linkages to the region, regional tensions mainly affect Israel through security, investor and consumer confidence, and public finances.

International Monetary Fund
This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Israeli economy is in the midst of a deep recession. Waning exports and investment, combined with stagnant private consumption, led to negative growth in 2001 and 2002. The stagnation can be attributed to the burst of the technology bubble, the global slowdown, and the deterioration in the security situation. Recently, some indicators suggested that economic activity is stabilizing, but there are no signs of recovery in sight. On the structural front, the government has pushed forward a broad-based tax reform and introduced some labor market reform measures.
International Monetary Fund
This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that strong macroeconomic conditions and sound domestic policies have significantly improved Israel’s growth performance and prospects, notwithstanding political uncertainties and the hostilities in the north during the summer of 2006. Inflation pressures are subdued, and monetary policy has been easing as of late. Financial soundness indicators have been recovering although some weaknesses on bank balance sheets that relate mainly to previous boom–bust cycles remain. For 2007, real GDP growth is forecast about 4½ percent.
International Monetary Fund
Israel is on the threshold of a marked improvement in economic performance. Passage of a revised Bank of Israel law along the lines recommended by the Levin Commission and endorsed by the Bank of Israel should be achieved as soon as possible. Continued vigilance regarding real exchange rate trends, conditions of access to international capital markets, and the health of the banking sector is essential. The government is to be commended for its success in liberalizing Israel's foreign trade and capital accounts.
International Monetary Fund
Israel was mildly affected by the global recession: following a slowdown in 2009, output is projected to grow by some 4 percent in 2010, led by consumption and exports. Robust fundamentals—including sustained pre-crisis fiscal consolidation—and a swift monetary and fiscal policy response to the external downturn allowed Israel to pass through the global recession relatively unscathed. The resilience of the economy has been strengthened by the adoption of new fiscal rules capping spending and deficits.