JERUSALEM, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Israel's government debt reached a new record of 984 billion new shekels (303 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, according to an annual report released by the country's Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.
This is an increase of 19.6 percent compared to a government debt of 823 billion shekels recorded in 2019.
The rise was due to an increase in Israel's financing needs in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, which raised a record 265 billion shekels in 2020, compared with 137 billion shekels in 2019.
The public and government debt rates from GDP in 2020 were about 72.4 percent and 70.9 percent respectively, compared with about 60 percent and 58.5 percent in 2019.
The report explained that the increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio is lower than the forecasts, mainly because of the appreciation of the shekel against the dollar, a negative inflation rate, and higher-than-expected growth.
"Significant plans will be required to lead the economy to growth. It is very important to reduce the deficit after the crisis and return to the declining trend in the debt-to-GDP ratio," said Israel's Accountant-General Yali Rothenberg.