Israel Fin Min sees 5.1% economic growth, 7% budget deficit in 2021

FILE PHOTO: People walk and shop as Israel reopens swathes of its economy, continuing to lift restrictions of a national lockdown to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), inside the mall in Jerusalem February 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/Files

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Finance Ministry said on Sunday the 2021-2022 budget will be based on a 5.1% economic growth estimate this year and a 4.7% forecast next year.

The budget draft is slated to be presented to the cabinet next week. Final parliamentary approval is expected in November.

Total fiscal spending is forecast to reach 429.1 billion shekels ($131 billion) in 2021 and 450.1 billion in 2022. The budget deficits are forecast at 7.0% of gross domestic product this year and 3.4% of GDP next year — after hitting 11.6% in 2020 when the government spent heavily to help businesses and households cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It seeks to gradually lower the deficit to 1.7% of GDP by 2025, the ministry said.

The ministry estimated income of 379.4 billion shekels in 2021 and 392.3 billion in 2022.

The Bank of Israel earlier this month forecast economic growth of 5.5% this year and 6% in 2022.

Due to two years of political stalemate and four elections, Israel is using a pro-rated version of the 2019 state budget that was passed in March 2018.

($1 = 3.2714 shekels)

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