The year 2001 was apparently even worse than we thought, according to an update from the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Amended data for last year indicates that the economy shrank by 0.9%, not 0.6% as thought.

The new figures show that the business product contracted by 2.4% in 2001, and that growth per capita was a negative 3.2%.

Imports dropped by 4.5% and exports sank by 11.7%.

Another surprise came with the updated data for 2002, which, it transpires, was better than thought. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, growth was 7.4%, not 6.4%, as the exports of goods soared by 23.4%, while imports climbed by 12.3%.

Bank Hapoalim chief economist Ptahiya Bar-Shavit says that the national statistics can sometimes be amended over a period of five years. The Central Bureau of Statistics calculations are generally on the conservative side, he added, meaning that amendments tend to be upside.