The economy in Israel grew at an annualized 4.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is its strongest spurt in nearly two years, while the nation continues its recovery, quickly, from a short downturn.

The Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday also left unchanged the third-quarter growth, which was of 3.0% and the full year 2009 estimate that the economy grew 0.5% to NIS 763 billion which is $203 billion.

The economic forecast for 2010 is that we will witness roughly 3.5% growth.

The growth which we saw in the fourth quarter was the highest since the first quarter of 2008, when the economy grew 5.5%.

After contracting an annualized 3.1% in the first quarter on the dawn of the global crisis, Israel’s economy grew 1.2% in the second quarter and 3% in the third quarter.

Also, the per-capita gross domestic product grew 2.4% in the fourth quarter.

The growth in the final three months of last year was fuelled by a 33% surge in exports and a 4.4% rise in consumer spending, the bureau said in its first estimate of fourth-quarter GDP growth.

In addition to this, imports rose 13.8% while investment in fixed assets fell 9.4%.