The lazy days of summer were in full swing last week, as exchange rates lounged around despite plenty of headline making news. Meanwhile a run on “welcome home mats” hit the Israel real estate market, and Bank of Israel continued its habit of keeping the change.  Plus, talk is cheap when it comes to the US dollar at the IsraTransfer Trading Desk, and Israel seemingly dials up its internet connections. Ready for our week-in-review download? Then log on and let’s get to it.

From the IsraTransfer Trading Desk

Things are hardly quiet these days when it comes the United States economy, especially with President Donald Trump at the helm.  Last week was no different, as the bombastic leader headed to Europe for the latest NATO summit. Once again, his “America First” stance on trade took center stage, fueling renewed concerns over looming global trade wars.  Perhaps the currency markets have gotten used to the bluster, because in spite of the heated rhetoric the US dollar had a pretty quiet week in terms of trading volatility, finding itself in a narrow trading range.

This week, retail sales figures on Monday highlights an extremely light economic calendar, and with not much out there to fundamentally weaken the US dollar, we continue to recommend taking advantage of the generous USD/NIS exchange rate, given what we consider limited weakening potential in the shekel going forward in the short-term.

Perhaps there really was something to the “feel good factor” surrounding England’s World Cup soccer team that we spoke about last week.  Although the club’s time in the tournament came to an end against Croatia, its successful run to the final four may have actually taken the edge off what could have been a pretty rough patch for sterling.  

Following the resignation of both David Davis and Boris Johnson, the leading voices of opposition to Theresa May on Brexit, no one would have been surprised to see GBP take a tumble.  However, in defying conventional wisdom, sterling remained relatively stable against the shekel all week. Other than the UK Consumer Price Index due out on Wednesday, all eyes and ears will again be on news regarding Brexit, and with the markets having now had a full week to digest the latest government shake ups, we’ll be curious to see how sterling resumes trading.  For the time being, a “wait and see approach” is the way we’re going about it.

Stay on top of daily trading in the shekel, plus notable news, economic announcements and more with IsraTransfer’s free Daily Shekel Report newsletter.

Bank of Israel Representative Exchange Rates

For the Week of July 9 thru July 13, 2018

Currency Symbol Week High Week Low Week Close
US Dollar USD/NIS 3.6544 3.6117 3.6390
British Pound GBP/NIS 4.8381 4.7779 4.8159
Euro EUR/NIS 4.2755 4.2310 4.2526
Australian Dollar AUD/NIS 2.7161 2.6851 2.7020
Canadian Dollar CAD/NIS 2.7804 2.7599 2.7658
South African Rand ZAR/NIS 0.2753 0.2686 0.2734
Swiss Franc CHF/NIS 3.6768 3.6242 3.6327


This Week’s Notable Economic Announcements

The following are some announcements to be aware of that could affect prices and activity in currency trading.

Date Currency Announcement
Monday, July 16th   USD Retail Sales Advance
Tuesday, July 17th   USD FOMC Chairman Powell Semi-Annual US Senate Testimony
Wednesday, July 18th   GBP Consumer Price Index
Thursday, July 19th   AUD Employment/Unemployment Change
Friday, July 20th   CAD Consumer Price Index

*Source: DAILYFX

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Israel Real Estate Developments

It’s taken a while, but after what must have seemed like an eternity for Israel’s residential home builders it looks like plenty of Israeli’s will be getting new neighbors.  Following  an extended period of declines dating back to 2016 that saw the average number of deals drop from 2,800 to just 1,650, new home sales finally bounced back in May  In reporting released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, data showed purchases increased nearly a nearly 20%.  Leading the way in deals included those in cities such as Jerusalem, Netanya, and Rehovot.

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Buying property in Israel? IsraTransfer exchange rates help you get more shekels when transferring your funds to Israel.

The Ministry of Finance’s Buyer Fixed Program (Mechir Lamishtaken) also played a role  in the recovery, contributing 660 purchases to the 9,200 total.  In full disclosure, however, the Ministry of Finance’s figures for the number of Buyer Fixed Price plan apartments sold are based on contracts signed, not on the actual granting of building permits, which gives the figures the potential to be a bit misleading.  As a result, although the overall the news is a welcome sight for those who have been hoping for a recovery, experts do caution against declaring an official trend reversal based solely on one month’s performance.

Israel Economy Update

As we mentioned last week, those looking for little to no excitement from the Bank of Israel in its head, Karnit Flug’s, final rate decisions got pretty much what was expected.  Once again, short-term interest rates were left unchanged, marking over three years since the last rate hike. The bigger news to come out of the meeting, however, was in the much anticipated comments provided by BoI regarding its outlook and guidance for possible action going forward.  Among the topics touched on by Flug in her comments to the press following the rate decision included the government’s efforts to reduce consumer prices, the real estate market’s underperformance, and risks associated in the emerging markets due to weak macroeconomic fundamentals.

No surprise, however, perhaps the biggest note of interest involved Bank of Israel’s inflation assessment.  With fears starting to mount that the proposed fourth quarter interest rate increase would be pushed off until 2019, anxieties were assuaged with an inflation forecast slightly higher than its previous one, namely due to an increase in energy prices.  As a result, the 2018 increase seems to be pretty much locked in, with BoI’s Research Department citing an inflation rate on track to reach its target of 1.4% going forward one year from now.

Not So Fast

Less than one week removed from earning a top ten placement on US News and World Reports Most Powerful Countries, Israel was once again recognized on another rankings list, although this time for a dubious distinction.  Despite its reputation for rapid technological advancements, Israel now stakes claim to only the world’s 70th fastest internet connection speed in’s annual broadband speed index.

Coasting in at an average download speed of 7.64 MBps (megabytes per second), Israel has now dropped ten spots from its placement on the list last year with a speed of less than half of that in the UK (18.57 MBps ), and a far cry from the 25.86 MBps that US web surfers enjoy.  Although up in speed from last year (7.2 MBps) and still placing well inside the top 100, Israel more than pales in comparison to the world’s fastest country, Singapore, that boasts a scorching download speed of over 60.39 MBps; nearly 15 MBps faster than second place finisher, Sweden (46 MBps).

Ok, consider yourself back in-the-know.  Wishing everyone a very productive and prosperous week from IsraTransfer.

Looking for the easiest way to transfer money to Israel? IsraTransfer Ltd. is Israel’s leading currency exchange firm specializing in wire transfers of US dollars (USD), British sterling (GBP), Canadian dollars (CAD), euros (EUR), and more to Israel.  Founded in 2008, and with over 1 billion NIS exchanged, we are the exclusive operators of the AACI Currency Exchange Program.

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