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Israel’s cost of living falls

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JERUSALEM, Dec. 15 (JTA) — Israel’s cost of living index fell by 0.3 percent in November. The decline fit in with forecasts for sluggish economic growth during the coming year. Israel’s economy is expected to grow only by about 2 percent in 1998, following several years of record growth. The November figure brings annual inflation to an estimated 8 percent for all of 1997. The government had set a target of 7 percent to 9 percent. The drop in the cost of living was attributed to declines in the prices of produce and housing. In a further sign of the economic slowdown — which some attribute to the faltering peace process — November’s unemployment figures showed that 151,600 people were out of work — a rise of 1.2 percent compared to October.

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