June 10, 2018 / 11:27 AM / 2 months ago

Israel raises growth estimate to 3.5 percent in 2018, 3.4 percent in 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s government raised its economic growth estimates by 0.3 percentage point for this year and next, citing better than expected private spending and exports and an expansion of capacity at Intel’s (INTC.O) chip plant.

FILE PHOTO - Cranes are seen at a construction site in the new neighbourhood of Carmei Gat in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat November 1, 2016. Picture taken November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Growth is forecast at 3.5 percent in 2018 and 3.4 percent next year, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday in updated estimates. It expects growth of 3.3 percent in 2020.

The new forecasts are more in line with those from the Bank of Israel, IMF and OECD.

The ministry also raised its tax revenue estimates for 2018 and 2019 by 1.4 billion shekels ($392.5 million) and 1.5 billion shekels, respectively.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he still planned to lower taxes but did not provide details. He said he aims for annual economic growth of about 5 percent.

($1 = 3.5665 shekels)

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen

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