"We can expand the foreign currency purchasing program," Governor of the Bank of Israel Amir Yaron said yesterday evening, speaking to the Board of Trustees of Bar-Ilan University. His remark follows yesterday's report that in January the Bank of Israel had already implemented a quarter of the purchasing program for 2021.
"Thirty billion dollars is a considerable sum," Yaron said, referring to the size of the pre-announced plan for buying foreign currency. "We are committed to spending that amount. To understand the scale of the plan, you can think what would happen in the foreign exchange market if the current account surplus were smaller by that amount. Of course, it is becomes relevant, and in the light of economic and market conditions at that point, we can expand the foreign exchange purchasing program, in the same way as we announced expansion of the quantitative easing program in government bonds."
Yaron also presented findings showing that the third lockdown in Israel was less tight than the previous ones, based on the Bank of Israel's analysis of data on credit card purchases from Automated Banking Services Ltd. In the case of the first two lockdowns it could be seen that a substantial rise in credit card purchases took place only at the end of the lockdown, whereas credit card purchases rose in the middle of the third lockdown.
In the light of this development, alongside Israel's impressive progress in vaccinating the population on the one hand, and high morbidity rate on the other, Yaron said, "There is room for examining the use of a 'green passport', a certificate issued to people who have been vaccinated a week after the second dose, as a means of opening up commerce and maintaining economic activity in a controlled manner."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 8, 2021
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