Israel’s annual budget deficit hits record $46.2bn

Israel’s annual budget deficit reached a record of $46.2 billion, said a report published by the Ministry of Finance.

The deficit figure, between December 2019 and November 2020, accounts for 11.1 per cent of Israel’s GDP, much higher than the government’s target of 3 per cent, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying on Sunday.

The report explained that the deficit rise was mainly caused by the government spending to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, treat patients, and support the Israeli economy to deal with the crisis.

The report also noted that since March, there has been a decline in tax revenues, which has also contributed to the deficit rise.

For the first 11 months of 2020, the Israeli budget deficit reached 136.4 billion shekels, compared with 37.3 billion shekels in January-November last year.

In November, the deficit totalled 13.7 billion shekels, compared to a budget surplus of 500 million new shekels recorded in November 2019.

The Israeli government revenues in January-November 2020 amounted to only 285.8 billion shekels, a sharp decrease of 9.5 percent compared with the same period last year.

In addition, since the beginning of 2020, government expenditures have totalled 422.2 billion shekels, of which 59.2 billion shekels were intended to deal with the pandemic, which has so far infected 344,906 people in Israel, while 2,917 others have died.

This is an increase of 19.5 per cent compared with total expenditures in January-November 2019.