Budget data for January 2017

February 16, 2017
Bottom line: Nothing to get excited about. As usual, January saw a surplus — because government spending in this month is much lower than average. Tax revenue was impacted by a sharp fall in import taxes and a smaller fall in VAT — all due to the low level of vehicle imports, after the huge surge in December.


  • The budget was in surplus for January to the tune of NIS4.2bn, much the same as in January 2016.
  • The twelve-month trailing deficit through January amounted to only 2.1% of GDP, below the 2.15% recorded for 2016, and far from the 2.9% level projected for 2017.
  • Tax revenues were distorted by one-off events: income tax receipts were boosted by the capital gains tax generated by the sale of a large company, while indirect taxes were sharply down, because of the plunge in vehicle imports — as was inevitable after the massive surge in imports in December.
  • Discounting the one-off tax receipt, revenue from direct taxes rose by 6% over January 2016.
  • Spending was generally low — a standard feature in January. Spending by civilian ministries rose by 2.2% over January 2016, while Defence Ministry outlays were up only 1%.
  • The government continued to take advantage of the cheap borrowing environment, both at home and abroad. In January, it raised NIS5.7bn in domestic borrowing, while its latest foray into the global bond market — raising 1.5bn euros via long-term bonds — brought in another NIS9.2bn.

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