The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported last week that Israel's gross national product (GNP) in 2012 was NIS 929,763 million, representing growth of 3.3% over 2011.
This figure compares with growth of 4.6% in 2011, and 5% in 2010.
Israel's growth was in line with central bank and Finance Ministry estimates but the weakest since 1.1% in 2009, falling short of the bureau's initial estimate of 3.5%.
The CBS's report noted that the 2012's growth was Israel's slowest pace in three years due to scant export growth, but still outperformed many other developed countries.
Growth slowed from a 4.6% spurt in 2011, mainly due recessions in Europe, Israel's largest trading partner, weak growth in the United States and slower growth in Asia. Europe's troubles held back Israeli exports which grew by 1% this year, largely due to a 22.1% drop in diamond exports, versus a 5.5% gain in 2011. Some 35% of exports go to recession-hit Europe.
The 2012 growth figure is the lowest since the crisis year of 2009, and is among the lowest in the past decade. Per capita growth has fallen in the past two years from 3.1% in 2010 to just 1.5%.
Nevertheless, Israel's growth rate is the highest among the developed countries, and is more than double the OECD average of 1.4%.
On the other hand, the growth rate is low in comparison with those of developing countries such as India and China. Per capita growth in Israel this year was also double the OECD average, which was 0.7%, and among the highest among the OECD member countries, apart from Japan, where per capita growth was 1.9%.
The Central Bureau of Statistics explains that the third quarter of 2012 saw a substantial fall in exports, while investment and private consumption weakened, hence the sharp slowdown in growth in 2012. Business sector growth fell to 3.2%, compared with 5.1% in 2011 and 5.4% in 2010