Saturday, July 11, 2009

The government says it's perky

The Economist (9/7/2009)
Israel’s economy looks quite resilient
YUVAL STEINITZ, Israel’s finance minister, radiates confidence. Once a popular young left-wing philosopher, he is now a leading light of the right-wing Likud party, the main bit of Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition, which took office at the end of March. Israel’s economy, he insists, can weather the global turmoil. “Nietzsche taught us, ‘That which does not kill me makes me stronger’”, he muses. “The recession has shown we’re strong. Now we can turn the recovery to our advantage."
It is the job of a finance minister to talk up his economy. Even so, Mr Steinitz’s optimism seems broadly justified, as he prepares to present a budget for this year and next. Israel’s economy has grown by an average annual rate of 5% in the past five years. Its GDP per head is ahead of Portugal, a shade behind Greece and five times bigger than its neighbour Egypt (see chart).