JERUSALEM, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Israeli economy in 2013 grew at the slowest pace in the last five years, preliminary estimated by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday.
Israel's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by only 3.3 percent, the slowest growth rate since 2009, when the economy expanded by 1. 2 percent amidst a global recession.
The new figures fall short of forecasts by Israel's central bank, which expected a 3.5 percent economic growth for 2013. The economy is expected to further slow to 3.3 percent growth in 2014, according to the Bank of Israel.
The sluggish growth is attributed mainly to the slowdown in exports. With a population of only eight million people, the export used to be Israel's main growth engine. However, the estimates of the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that the overall exports of goods and services decreased this year by 0.1 percent, following a 0.9 percent rise last year and a 7.3 percent rise in 2011.
However, despite the bleak picture, Israel's growth tops the average expansion pace of 1.2 percent of other developed economies, the report showed.
Israel's unemployment rates in 2013 also scored better than other developed countries -- 6.3 percent in Israel compared with about 8 percent in countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).