Companies Survey, 4th quarter, 2003

03/02/2004
All Press Releases In Subject:
The Economy and Economic Activity

Companies Survey, 4th quarter, 2003

Overview:

Reports from companies for the fourth quarter of 2003 indicate that total economic activity remained steady, after rising in the previous two quarters. The trends in the principle industries differed, but in almost all industries expectations were of a rise in activity in the next quarter. Manufacturing output remained stable, reflecting a decline in domestic sales and orders and continued expansion in exports and export orders. Trading companies sales were at a standstill, with expectations of a rise in the next quarter. The downward trend in business services revenue halted, with a rise in sales of services abroad. Hotel bed nights of tourists from abroad and of Israelis continued to rise, but were expected to fall in the next quarter. In the transport and communications secondary industries there was a marked decline in air transport, in contrast to a moderate rise in sea transport and a standstill in overland transport and communications. In construction the sharp decline in buildings and infrastructure continued and even intensified.
In reports on constraints on implementing activity, the greater severity of demand side than supply side constraints was notable. Among the latter financing difficulties headed the list, and in construction, also the shortage of skilled labor. Average inflation expectations for the next twelve months fell significantly in this quarter, to 2 percent, with a rise to 82 percent in the share of companies expecting inflation to be within the target range. Companies expected, on average, that the exchange rate in twelve months would be NIS 4.7 to the dollar.

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