It was a thrilling close to the year as we said goodbye to 5777 and welcomed in 5778. While recent news points to a slowdown in Israeli economic sentiment, trading in the shekel was very active with a range in the Sha’ar Yatzig swinging from 3.48 to 3.58, before closing the month at 3.53. In real estate news, a recovery in sales may be on the horizon, and a high-reward development for Israel’s low-risk businesses. Plus, iPhone 8 makes its Israel debut, and plenty of buzz surrounds the largest Rosh Hashana in Israel’s history. What do we mean? Read on to find out!
Economic sentiment took a step back, albeit an expected one, in September witha downward revision in second quarter growth. Minutes of the central bank’s August rates discussion showed that monetary policy committee members had expected a downward revision to the GDP data. Private spending still rose 6.5 percent in the second quarter, rebounding from a 1.1 percent drop in the first three months of the year, and investment in fixed assets rose by 10.7 percent. The second quarter is the first period since the third quarter of last year to give a clear picture of Israel’s economy after one-time effects distorted data from the past two periods.
While Israel’s residential housing market may cooled recently, Israeli real estate underwriter, Rosario Capital Ltd., believes the halt to be temporary, Citing market uncertainty, an almost 2% increase in the mortgage interest rate over the past 18 months, and a potential law imposing a tax on ownership of a third housing unit as the main culprits behind the slowdown. Conversely, their research does indicate that developers believe that the market will revive in six months, with a population still growing at a high rate and not enough supply to meet demand.
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New regulations streamlining business licenses may affect some 50,000 businesses in Israel. The draft of a reform of business obtained by Globes indicates that more than one third of businesses in Israel will receive business licenses within 21 days in a fast track procedure. At present, obtaining a business license involves months of waiting, uncertainty, bureaucracy, and much running about. Many business owners end up operating without a license, becoming unwilling criminals.
And in the spirit of Rosh Hashana…
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Sweet Honey Fact
In 2017 Israel imported over 560 tons of honey ahead of the holidays in hopes of meeting the needs of an all-time high Israei population of 8.74 million people.
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