TEL AVIV (Jan. 16)
The cost-of-living index in December rose by only 3.7 percent, the lowest monthly increase in 18 months and the lowest for December in six years.
The figures, released yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, were immediately hailed by the government, Histadrut and the Manufacturers and Employers Association as a vindication of the three month wage-price freeze package instituted last November.
December was the second month the freeze was in effect. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics the price rise would have been even lower-about one percent-were it not for a seasonal 14 percent rise in the prices of fruits and vegetables in December. Those edibles are not covered by the freeze package.
PLANS TO RENEW THE FREEZE
Plans are underway to renew the freeze when it expires at the end of this month. Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai said the government would have to cut its price subsidies in order to reduce the national budget and that will have to be taken into account when preparing the next wage-price freeze package.
Histadrut complained that the government has not moved fast enough on the new package if it is to take effect immediately after the present one expires.
The manufacturers noted that wholesale prices have been kept low and hoped this indicated a trend to reduce inflation. Israel’s inflation rate for all of 1984 stood at 445 percent, an all-time high. In 1983 it was 191 percent.