The Composite State of the Economy Index for August 2020 declined by 0.06 percent

The Bank of Israel's Composite State of the Economy Index for August declined by 0.06 percent, similar to the index for July.  This follows the very sharp declines in the index during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic between March and May, and the small increase in the index in June following the cancellation of most of the economic closures and restrictions. The decline in the index for August reflects declines in most components reported for July–August, after most of them increased in previous months.  The only components that increased in July–August were the job vacancy rate and the retail trade revenue index, but the rate of increase in the revenue index has declined since May. Table 2 presents the development of components of the Index in the past few months.

 

A revision of the data for previous months shows that the increase in economic activity was in June, when the economy opened rapidly.  The downward revision for July is due to a decline in services exports in July, which was revised in September, and from the built-in statistical smoothing in the calculation of the Index (Table 1).

 

In view of the uniqueness of the crisis and the resulting measurement difficulties, the intensity of the changes in the Index should not be used as an indicator of the precise intensity of changes in economic activity, and particularly not regarding the relative intensity between various months.

 

Detailed explanations regarding how the Composite Index is calculated, as well as detailed long-term tables, can be found at

https://www.boi.org.il/en/Research/Pages/ind.aspx

 

 

Table 1: Revisions in the Composite Index

Revision

Previous figure

New figure

August 2020

 

-0.06

July 2020

0.15

-0.02

June 2020

-0.04

0.14

May 2020

-0.92

-0.90

April 2020

-2.54

-2.50

March 2020

-1.20

-1.27

 

 

 

 


Table 2: Changes in the Index components in recent months

(monthly percent change, unless otherwise noted)

 

August

2020

July

2020

June

2020

May

2020

Industrial Production Index

(excluding mining and quarrying)

 

-3.2

2.4

2.9

Services Revenue Index

(excluding education and public administration) 1

 

-0.7

7.6

5.5

Retail Trade Revenue Index

 

1.1

5.3

25.8

Imports of consumer goods2

-1.9

3.9

13.3

1.1

Imports of manufacturing inputs

(excluding fuels)

-1.2

0.7

1.6

-9.5

Goods exports (excluding agriculture) 2

-0.1

-10.2

-1.6

18.6

Services exports (excluding transportation) 3

 

-3.0

-6.5

7.5

Number of employee posts in the private sector

 

 

10.9

15.8

Job vacancy rate in the business sector4

2.3

2.1

2.2

2.0

Building starts5

 

 

 

 

 ​

Since the Central Bureau of Statistics did not calculate seasonally adjusted series for some of the variables, there may be inconsistencies between some of the variables appearing the Composite Index tables and Central Bureau of Statistics publications.

 

1 Since the Central Bureau of Statistics did not calculate seasonal adjustments for March–July, revenue data for those months were calculated on the basis of projected seasonality for those months, and the series were not revised.

2 Goods imports and exports are calculated in fixed prices (adjusted for changes in foreign trade price indices).

3 Services exports are calculated in real terms using the Consumer Price Index, and are comprised of the export of other business services and the export of tourism services.  Since the Central Bureau of Statistics did not calculate seasonal adjustments for March–July for data on the export of tourism services, services exports data for March–July are the sum of other business services exports seasonally adjusted and tourism services exports using original data.

4 The job vacancy rate is calculated out of the ratio between vacancies and the total number of employed people, and is included in the index at its level.  Sine the Central Bureau of Statistics did not calculate seasonal adjustments for March–July, the data for those months are not seasonally adjusted.

5 Since the Central Bureau of Statistics publishes data on building starts once per quarter, the data integrated into the model are at a monthly frequency based on additional sources, such that the distribution is consistent with the quarterly data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (in percent, seasonally adjusted).