The revised data on credit card activity indicate the effect of the leniency measures in the emergency regulations on the public’s return to routine during the corona crisis, and a recovery can be seen in activity in some industries in view of the leniencies. On May 18, credit card expenditure (2-week moving average) was only 12 percent lower than the beginning of the year. In contrast, on April 17, credit card expenditure (2-week moving average) was 42 percent lower than the beginning of the year.


When examining expenditures by industry, it can be seen that in the electrical products, clothing and furniture industries, expenditures returned to pre-crisis levels. The increase in expenditure on fuel and transport illustrates the growth in the public’s mobility (see also the publication on indicators published by the Bank regarding changes in mobility patterns). There is also a positive trend in expenditure on restaurants, education and leisure. In contrast, the expenditure in various tourism areas has not yet recovered.


As part of dealing with the coronavirus crisis, the Bank of Israel formulates an ongoing picture of the state of the Israeli economy on both the real and financial sides. To that end, the Bank of Israel has established a dedicated information infrastructure that monitors indicators from various areas. Beginning today, the Bank will update and publish the data on the various indicators at weekly frequency on a dedicated page on the website.


The dynamic picture is presented on an ongoing basis as part of the situation room established by the Governor of the Bank of Israel at the onset of the crisis. It includes indicators from the labor market, the credit market, the capital market, and the foreign exchange market, among others. In addition, in view of the nature of the crisis, the Bank of Israel has formulated designated rapid indicators that can show changes in economic trends. The payment systems and means of payment areas are particularly relevant, as they essentially constitute the infrastructure through which economic transactions are carried out by the public—both individuals and businesses. Indicators from this area include, for example, cash withdrawals by the public from ATMs, checking activity, and payment card activity.


An indicator of particular interest is credit card activity by industry. This indicator enables the Bank to obtain a very clear picture of the intensity of the crisis’s negative impact on various industries, and assists in the formulation of the Bank’s policy measures.


The first graph presents the change in payment card activity in selected industries, relative to the beginning of the year. The additional figures are graphs of expenditure, with a 1-week moving average, in millions of NIS, segmented by industry. These are data obtained on a daily basis from Shva (Automatic Bank Services), which is the payment system for payment card transactions in Israel. The data are processed and analyzed by the Bank of Israel.


The Bank of Israel uses these data to identify risks in the financial system, including credit risks, to validate economic growth forecasts and to recommend policy measures in line with the extent of adverse impact to each industry. When a trend of returning to economic activity occurs, it is expected to also be reflected in these data. The Bank of Israel intends to publish updates to these data for the public in the future.