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Israel's economy gets upbeat forecast

March 16, 2004 at 8:37 PM

JERUSALEM, March 16 (UPI) -- Moody's analysts in Israel have an upbeat view of Israel's economy, Tuesday forecasting economic growth of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year.

"From the perspective of economic policy, the current government is the best Israel has had in the last 50 years," Moody's analysts Jonathan Schiffer and David Levy said in the rating agency's annual Israeli report, the Ha'aretz news service said.

Chief Moody's analyst Jacob Lascow said at The Marker-Deloitte Forum conference Monday he believes Israel's economic recovery started during the second half of 2003.

Lascow credited Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for taking unprecedented economic steps, including reducing government debt and lowering interest rates.

Moody's said it expects Israel's gross domestic product per capita to increase for the first time in two years, from $17,000 to $17,600.

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