The government's budget deficit for August was 2.5 billion shekels, compared to NIS 4.5 billion in August 2012, according to figures released by the Treasury on Monday. The deficit for the first eight months of 2013 was 12.9 billion shekels, compared to 17.6 a year ago, and the shortfall for the last 12 months came to NIS 34.3 billion or about 3.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The reduction in the deficit started in March after it went up in January and February. The Finance Ministry said the figures show that "Fiscal discipline is beginning to make its mark. We will continue to act responsibly." The ministry is examining the implications of the change in the Central Bureau of Statistic's method of measuring GDP, which resulted in a lower deficit figure for 2012. Treaurer Yair Lapid said "The policy of fiscal discipline must be continued so that we don't return to the serious deficit situation of the budget when [the government] took office."