Shekel extends losses as markets tumble

Shekel Photo: ASAP Creative
Shekel Photo: ASAP Creative

After strengthening to below NIS 3.50/$ last week, the Israeli currency is again weakening.

The shekel is weakening today against the dollar and against the euro. In morning inter-bank trading the shekel-dollar exchange rate was up 0.64% at NIS 3.533/$ and up 0.05% against the euro at NIS 3.819/€.

Yesterday, the Bank of Israel set the shekel-dollar exchange rate up 0.114% from Tuesday at NIS 3.511/$ and the shekel-euro rate was set up 0.373% at NIS 3.818/€.

Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the shekel-dollar rate has tended to be linked to the fortunes of global stock markets. As stock markets fall, Israeli banks and financial institutions need to sell shekels and buy foreign currency to cover their overseas positions, and when they gain the position is reversed. Thus the shekel losses in recent days as global stock markets tumble. To flatten this roller coaster effect, the Bank of Israel has extended foreign currency credit to Israeli banks and institutions.

Trading at $3.46/$ at the beginning of the March before the coronavirus outbreak gripped the economy, the shekel slumped to NIS 3.86/$ as markets went into freefall. But by May 1 the shekel was back to NIS 3.49/$ as markets staged a recovery. Over the past few weeks the Bank of Israel has even intervened on the forex market to buy foreign currency to weaken the shekel and this has proved a turning point in halting the appreciation of the Israeli currency.

Tomorrow the Central Bureau of Statistics will announce the inflation rate for April - the height of the coronavirus crisis with Israel in lockdown. Leader Capital Markets macroeconomist Yonatan Katz sees the April Consumer Price Index falling 0.5%, led by the plunge in fuel prices.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on May 14, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Shekel Photo: ASAP Creative
Shekel Photo: ASAP Creative
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