Plenty has been popping in Israel business lately, and we don’t just mean Pepsi buying SodaStream, or champagne bottles at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. In economic news, Israel’s GDP officially hit a speed bump after a stellar first quarter, while the Ministry of Finance looks to pass the buck when it comes to housing prices. All that plus, our latest currency market analysis from the IsraTransfer Trading Desk. Ready for another installment of Israel Business Week Roundup? Then scroll down and let’s get to it.
From the IsraTransfer Trading Desk
It wasn’t too long ago that the USD/NIS exchange rate found itself trading at an 18-month high of 3.72. In fact, it was only seven days to be exact. Since that time, however, and as we have been projecting, the shekel, which had been showing limited weakening potential, has begun to demonstrate some much renewed strength that now has the rate consolidating back to the 3.66 level.
There isn’t too much on the economic calendar this week with respect to most global currencies, so as is usually the case, news will dictate how the markets trade. One particular item that we’ll be keeping an eye on as far as the US dollar is concerned is the upcoming US-China trade talks with the goal of a de-escalation in the tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Based on early trading to start the week, it appears the outlook is more optimistic than not, as evidenced by what looks like a more stable USD. As such, this is something that could bode well for the USD/NIS in the days to come. Additionally, the Bank of Israel is set to unveil its latest decision on interest rates this week, and although we have no reason to expect any changes, as we’ve mentioned previously, an anticipated hike has already been factored in for later this year. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some weakening in the shekel following this week’s meeting as well.
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Bank of Israel Representative Exchange Rates
For the Week of August 13th thru August 17th, 2018
|Currenc||Symbol||Week High||Week Low||Week Close|
|South African Rand||ZAR/NIS||0.2629||0.2454||0.2629|
This Week’s Notable Economic Announcements
|Wednesday, August 22th||USD||FOMC Meeting Minutes|
|Thursday, August 23rd||EUR||ECB Account of July Monetary Policy Meeting|
|Friday, August 24th||USD||FOMC Annual Banking Symposium|
|Friday, August 24th||USD||Durable Goods Orders|
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Israel Economic Check-in
Following an extremely impressive first quarter that saw whopping 4.8% annualized growth in GDP, Q2 for the Israeli economy wasn’t quite so successful. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported numbers for the most recent quarter coming in all the way down at 2%, a somewhat disappointing drop from the previous period although not an altogether unexpected one due to an abnormally high volume of automobiles purchased in the first three months of 2018. However, while consensus had the latest GDP numbers projected between 2% to 2.5%, with the actual numbers coming in at the low end of the the range, it could set up an interesting second half of the year, and something we will definitely be keeping an eye on.
Israel Real Estate
Those hoping for a continuation of the decline in Israel housing prices were given something of a bitter pill to swallow last week with the release of the Home Price Index. Per the report, for the first time since August of 2017, housing prices increased by over 2% during the period of May-June 2018. Not surprisingly Tel Aviv experienced the largest price increase at 0.8%, although Haifa prices actually declined by the same number. Additionally, the findings revealed that the average price of a home sold in Israel during the second quarter officially clocked in at just over 1.5 million NIS.
Furthermore, the cost of new homes weren’t the only thing on the rise either, including the blood pressure of Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon. In an interview following the less-than-desirable development, Kahlon took the opportunity to deflect any blame for the rising prices, instead choosing to focus on the successes of his Buyer Fixed Plan aimed at helping young families in the purchase of their first home.
Ok everyone consider yourself back in-the-know. Have a very prosperous week from IsraTransfer.
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