Israel’s economy contracted by an annualised 6.5% in the first quarter, the Central Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday, with growth hurt by the tail-end of a COVID lockdown.
Gross domestic product was forecast to have grown an annualised 3.6% in the first three months of 2021, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
After contracting 2.6% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the economy is forecast to recover rapidly and grow at least 5% in 2021.
Israel emerged from a third lockdown in mid-March amid a declining rate of COVID-19 infections as a result of a rapid vaccination rollout. Close to 60% of Israel’s population is fully vaccinated, most businesses are open and the jobless rate has fallen below 8%.
Exports grew 13% in the first quarter, while private spending slipped 3.2% after solid gains in the second half of 2020. Investment in fixed assets fell 14.2%…