Publication of the Statistical Bulletin for 2017
First publication of the main financial data and aggregates for 2017
Part One of the Statistical Bulletin for 2017 is intended to provide the public with easy and friendly access to the main data and aggregates regarding financial activity in Israel, together with information and explanations about the data, definitions and calculations, regarding four main topics in Israel’s financial statistics: the public’s financial assets portfolio; nonfinancial private sector debt; Israel’s economic activity vis-à-vis abroad; and foreign exchange activity of the principal sectors.
a. The public’s financial assets portfolio
- The balance of the public’s financial assets portfolio continued to increase in 2017, at a higher rate than in the past two years. The increase was mainly in the current accounts and bonds components.
- The downward trend of the portion of the portfolio managed directly by the public (including mutual funds) continued during the year, in parallel with an increase in the portion of the portfolio managed by institutional investors.
- Net deposits in the mutual funds resumed, mainly in the funds specializing in bonds.
- In 2017, the increase in balances in the provident and advanced training funds accelerated, due to the opening of provident funds for instance and the “Savings plan for each child” program.
b. Nonfinancial private sector debt
- The decline in the growth rate of outstanding household debt continued in 2017.
- There was a particularly prominent decline in the growth rate of nonhousing debt: from an average of 6 percent between 2012 and 2016 to about 4 percent in 2017.
- There was an increase in outstanding business sector debt, mainly through domestic nonbank debt. This represented a combined increase of household debt through their holdings of tradable bonds and debt to institutional investors through direct loans. In the second half of 2017, the growth rate of business sector debt to banks accelerated.
c. Israel’s economic activity vis-à-vis abroad
- The increase in surplus assets over liabilities vis-à-vis abroad accelerated in 2017, aided by contrary developments in the stock indices—an increase in foreign stock prices abroad and a decline in the prices of Israeli pharmaceutical stocks.
- The net flow of investments had a small effect on the balance of surplus assets, similar to the previous year
- In 2017, the upward trend in the balance of Israel’s assets abroad continued, mainly due to an increase in the balance of financial investments abroad by Israelis and the continued increase in foreign currency reserves.
- Israel’s liabilities to abroad increased in 2017, in contrast with the decline in 2016. The flow of net direct and financial investments by nonresidents continued, but it was partly offset by a sharp decline in the prices of Israeli stocks held by nonresidents, mainly in the pharmaceuticals industry.
d. Foreign exchange activity of the principal sectors
- Net sales of foreign exchange by nonresidents and institutional investors were prominent in 2017, in contrast with net foreign exchange purchases by the other main segments of the market.
- Most of the sales by nonresidents were concentrated in the first half of the year.
- The shekel strengthened against the dollar in 2017, in parallel with the significant weakening of the dollar against major global currencies. Most of the shekel’s appreciation was in the first half of the year. In terms of the nominal effective exchange rate, which represents the currencies of Israel’s major trading partners, the shekel strengthened more moderately.
Part two of the bulletin presents two studies in the field of statistical methodology:
a. Anonymization of files with itemized information
The Bank of Israel’s Information and Statistics Department gathers and manages information files from a variety of sources, some of which include itemized information. In order to allow for the freedom of information while maintaining the confidentiality of the information, the Department develops anonymization processes for the information files. This is a complex process that aims to prevent identification or exposure of sensitive or secret information on individuals whose data appear in the files. This article describes the anonymization process of the itemized data, defines the basic terms of the topic, presents common approaches to managing the risk of exposure in the files, and demonstrates the application of the process.
b. Measuring the country’s external debt
The economy’s gross external debt is defined as its total liabilities to abroad through debt instruments in shekels and foreign exchange. An analysis of external debt figures shows the level of foreign exchange liquidity available to the economy and the economy’s financial strength vis-à-vis abroad. The data on Israel’s external debt are calculated in the Information and Statistics Department, and are part of Israel’s International Investment Position. This article presents the main definitions and terms concerning the data on external debt, outlines how the debt is measured and reported, and demonstrates the main uses of the data.
The full publication (in Hebrew) can be accessed on the Bank of Israel’s website, including—for the convenience of users—the main data on each topic, in separate files, as well as links to regularly updated data on the Bank’s website. The English version of the bulletin will be published in the near future.