Israel flexed more than just its military muscle last week, as the shekel showed surprising strength in the face of military combat. Meanwhile, Bank of Israel warns not to mess with the shekel, and the Israeli economy appears ready to rumble. All that plus sterling gets tarnished at the IsraTransfer Trading Desk, and the world’s youngest selfie models get set to make their debut. Ready for your close-up on what you may have missed? Then check out the latest Israel Business Week Roundup.
From the IsraTransfer Trading Desk
Conventional wisdom suggests that if a country is on the verge of war, then the currency of that country weakens. However, unfortunately anyone that was waiting for the shekel to weaken after the skirmishes with Iran last week was left disappointed as the shekel actually did the opposite! From a geopolitical perspective, Russia’s seeming reluctance to get involved in the conflict has some considering last week was a big victory for Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu, and may have also helped to strengthen the Israeli currency.
In the US, inflation data came in a lot lower than expected and has reduced the chance of the two additional interest rate hikes the market has already priced in. With a lot less of a chance of interest rates going up twice more this year we expect to see a weakening in the dollar!
In GBP/NIS trading, after an impressive run up just a few weeks back, the pound took another few steps back last week . As we previously mentioned, economic news has become the primary cause of the pain sterling has been feeling of late. Last week was no different, as the Bank of England cut growth forecasts, and in doing so removed the possibility of any interest rate hikes in the foreseeable future. This immediately put sterling under pressure, as the markets had recently priced in an interest rate hike this month.
There is not a huge amount of economic data being released this week, so once again all eyes will be on the political climate as the instability now enters its second week.
Bank of Israel Representative Rates
For the Week of May 7th thru May 11th, 2018
|Currency||Symbol||Week High||Week Low||Week Close|
|South African Rand||ZAR/NIS||0.2922||0.2846||0.2918|
This Week’s Notable Economic Announcements
|Tuesday, May 15th||EUR||Gross Domestic Product|
|Tuesday, May 15th||EUR||ZEW Economic Sentiment Survey|
|Tuesday, May 15th||USD||Advance Retail Sales|
|Thursday, May 17th||AUD||Employment/Unemployment Rates|
|Friday, May 18th||CAD||Consumer Price Index|
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Just how well equipped is the Israeli economy to deal with a prolonged military conflict? With unemployment rates at a historic low of 3.7% and better-than-expected employment growth in 2017, experts believe it is more prepared now than ever before. Based on past performance, analysis also shows that industrial production tends to stay stable during military conflict, especially activity by tech companies, something that currently dominates the composition of Israel’s exports.
Additionally, the Bank of Israel now holding a record $115 billion in foreign currency reserves could provide a source of support should the shekel falter. Plus, with Israel also now boasting its best credit rating in the State’s history, issuing debt is also an option should it need to borrow money. One sector expected to take a hit as a result of the conflict is tourism, which has been running at an all-time high and expected to bring in $7 billion next year prior to the recent uncertainty.
One year after their bust for creating tens of thousands of false 200 shekel notes, two counterfeiters just received a second dose of bad news involving their legal troubles. Although the duo was convicted of the crime last year, the Bank of Israel has decided to send a message of its own with a first-of-its-kind civil lawsuit against the defendants, seeking damages of 400,000 NIS. The institution also hoping to send a message to other potential scammers that the consequences will extend beyond just their criminal legal troubles.
While the technology may still be in-utero, one Israeli startup is looking to reduce some of the stresses off the minds of pregnant women thanks to a revolutionary invention that puts a virtual obstetrician’s office in the palm of their hand. With their potentially game-changing device now in its final stages of development, PulseNMore Ltd. aims to enable pregnant women to conduct ultrasound scans from the conveniences of their homes through the help of a handheld device along with their smartphone.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits the technology will bring, however, is the ability for mothers to calm their nerves by being able to instantly check on their baby should they not feel it moving. As a result trips to the emergency room, in addition to heightened anxiety levels, could be drastically lowered.
Although PlusMore has still not received approval from Israel’s Ministry of Health, the company does report having gone through successful testing in the United States. The device is expected to retail for approximately 700 NIS once it receives Ministry of Health approval, and will be able to conduct up to 25 scans.
Ok everyone consider yourself back in-the-know. Have a very prosperous week from IsraTransfer.
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