TEL AVIV (Jan. 16)
The cost of living index rose by a low 1.3 percent during December, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced today. It was the lowest December C.O.L. increase in 10 years.
Although it was slightly higher than the one percent hoped for and forecast by Finance Minister Yitzhak Modai, he hailed it as an indication of the success of the economic package deal which has kept down prices and wage increases and lowered the annual inflation rate last year to some 160 percent, far below the nearly 300 percent in recent years.
Low monthly increases are anticipated for the next three months before the start of the financial year on April I heralds new wage agreements which will now be negotiated.
During the five months since the package deal was introduced, costs have risen by some 14 percent — an annual inflation rate of 37 percent.
Energy Minister Moshe Shahal announced today that the cost of electricity and fuel oil for industry would be reduced at midnight tonight, by three percent for electric power and five percent for the heavy oil.
But Modai responded by saying he would not append what he termed his statutory signature to the price reduction order as it had been decided on by Shahal, sitting alone as the Ministerial Price Committee. Shahal retorted that his order was legal as he had summoned the meeting at a time convenient to Modai and the others, and he was not responsible if they did not show up in time.