Israel first-quarter GDP revised up to annualized 4.5 percent growth

Labourers work 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

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s economy grew an annualized 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018, faster than previously thought, boosted by gains in consumer spending, investment and export, the Central Bureau of Statistics said in a second estimate.

In a preliminary estimate last month, the bureau said gross domestic product grew an annualized 4.2 percent, faster than the average forecast of 3.9 percent in a Reuters poll.

The bureau on Sunday also raised its fourth-quarter GDP estimate to 4.5 percent from 4.4 percent.

Growth in the January-March period was led by a 9.7 percent gain in private spending, similar to its preliminary estimate. Exports rose 4.5 percent, investment in fixed assets increased 14.2 percent led by industries, and government spending rose 11.5 percent.

The Bank of Israel forecasts economic growth of 3.4 percent in 2018. Last week the Finance Ministry raised its growth estimate by 0.3 percentage points to 3.5 percent. [nL8N1TC0B4]

On Friday, the bureau said Israel’s annual inflation rate edged up to 0.5 percent in May but stayed below its target of 1 to 3 percent. [nS0N1IH03U]. The central bank has said low inflation is not a result of weak demand.

Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch