Mon, 21 Sep 2020

JERUSALEM, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israel's annual budget deficit has reached a record 98.4 billion new shekels (28.9 billion U.S. dollars), said a report published by Israeli Ministry of Finance on Wednesday.

The deficit figure, between August 2019 and July 2020, accounts for 7.2 percent of Israel's GDP, way above the government's target of three percent.

For the first seven months of 2020, the budget deficit reached 70.2 billion shekels, compared with 24 billion shekels in the same period last year.

According to the report, the deficit increase in the 2020 budget year is mainly caused by the government expenses following the coronavirus outbreak and a decrease in tax revenues.

The government revenues since the beginning of this year amounted to only 178.7 billion shekels, a significant decline of 12.1 percent compared with January-July last year.

In July, the deficit amounted to 12 billion shekels, six times higher than the deficit in July last year.

Israeli analysts have estimated that by the end of the year, the deficit could grow to an unprecedented 14 percent of GDP.

Such a scenario would require steps taken by the state to take out large loans, raise taxes, and cut services provided by the government to Israeli citizens.

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