Karnit Flug: Israel's economy in good shape

Karnit Flug and Richard Quest Photo: Screen shot

The Governor of the Bank of Israel told the Globes Israel Business Conference that Israel must focus on the longer term.

Governor of the Bank of Israel Dr. Karnit Flug today took part in the “Globes” Israel Business Conference. She spoke with CNN reporter Richard Quest.

Flug described the state of the Israeli economy as “good” in comparison with the rest of the world. “Growth in Israel is moderate, but the economy is growing,” Flug declared. “There is improvement in employment, wages are rising, and the general macroeconomic situation is good. We have to focus on the longer term.”

Commenting on the emerging policy of US President-elect Donald Trump, Flug stated, “If Trump’s policy provides the US with economic growth, it will also be good for Israel. Our situation will be dependent on our trading partnership, and it therefore depends on how Trump’s policy affects growth there.

”In Europe, the situation is more challenging, and Europe is an important market for Israel’s trade. Essentially, we’re not looking at what other central banks are doing about the interest rate; we are interested in how their decisions affect us. We’re now close to full employment. Wages are rising, and all the indications are that the economy is close to full employment.”

Flug added, “The central bank cannot do much directly about inequality; it acts as an advisor to the government on economic matters.” She said she was working “very closely with the minister of finance (Moshe Kahlon) to promote reforms that will encourage competition, but which will also maintain stability in the financial system.

”The challenge is to persuade them (the politicians, G.W.) to address the long-term issues, and because the macroeconomic situation is good, we have a reason to talk about the coming generations. We can talk about differential taxation for poor working people. The government supports the entry of people into the labor force, and that is excellent, but these people lack the right capabilities, and this is something that we have to address now.”

Concerning the banking system, Flug said, “The banks in Israel are stable and well-supervised. They are conservative, and were a stabilizing factor during the economic crisis. We want to encourage competition only in places where it is inadequate. We certainly need to keep in mind the significance of a crisis in the financial market. We are therefore in favor of a very balanced reform.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 11, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Karnit Flug and Richard Quest Photo: Screen shot
Karnit Flug and Richard Quest Photo: Screen shot
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