TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
Israel’s cost of living index rose by a low 0.3 percent during May, surprising economic experts who had foreseen an increase of about 1 percent.
The government’s Central Bureau of Statistics released the figure Tuesday, pleasing Finance Minister Avraham Shohat, who has been forecasting an annual inflation rate of about 10 percent.
Since the beginning of the year, the cost of living has risen by 5.6 percent and at the present rate annual inflation would reach 13 to 14 percent. But the summer months usually produce low cost of living increases, so economists said Shohat’s optimism may be justified.
During May, fruit and vegetable prices dropped by 6 percent, with smaller decreases for clothing and footwear.
Building and housing costs, though, rose during the month by 1 percent, partly due to shorter summer hours for construction workers.