The decision is consistent with BOI’s monetary policy, which is intended to return the inflation rate to within the price stability target of 1–3 percent a year, and to support growth while maintaining financial stability.
(Communicated by the Bank of Israel Spokesperson)
The decision is consistent with BOI’s monetary policy, which is intended to return the inflation rate to within the price stability target of 1–3 percent a year, and to support growth while maintaining financial stability. The intensifying decline in exports in recent months reinforces the Monetary Committee’s assessment that in view of developments in the inflation environment, in growth in Israel and in the global economy, in the exchange rate, as well as in monetary policies of major central banks, monetary policy will remain accommodative for a considerable time.
The following are the main considerations underlying the decision:
· The inflation environment remains low, with diverse developments this month: the CPI for April increased, but by a lower rate than expected; expectations for various terms moved in different directions, though medium-term and long-term expectations continue to be anchored within the target range.
· The first estimate of National Accounts data indicates a worrying contraction in exports, after a prolonged virtual standstill, while private consumption, supported by the low interest rate and wage increases in the economy, continues to drive growth. In contrast, the picture conveyed by labor market data continues to be positive, and is reflected in a low level of unemployment, a high level of employment, wage increases, and a high job vacancy rate.
· In global economic activity, weakness remains focused on emerging markets, and in the first quarter on the US and UK as well. The slowdown in the growth of world trade continues. The recovery in Europe remains fragile. Major central banks continued monetary accommodation, but did not enhance it, and the markets’ expected timing of an increase in the US federal funds rate was brought forward, after having been deferred in previous months.
· From the monetary policy discussion on March 27, 2016, through April 19, 2016, the shekel weakened by 3 percent against the US dollar and by 1.6 percent in terms of the nominal effective exchange rate. Over the past 12 months there has been an appreciation of 3.3 percent in terms of the nominal effective exchange rate, and the exchange rate level continues to weigh on growth of exports and the tradable sector.
· The rate of increase in home prices moderated slightly in recent months but remains high. The volume of new mortgages taken out also remains elevated, despite an increase in mortgage interest rates in recent months.
The Monetary Committee is of the opinion that the risks to achieving the inflation target remain high, and that the risks to growth have increased. The Bank of Israel will continue to monitor developments in the Israeli and global economies and in financial markets. The Bank will use the tools available to it and will examine the need to use various tools to achieve its objectives of price stability, the encouragement of employment and growth, and support for the stability of the financial system, and in this regard will continue to keep a close watch on developments in the asset markets, including the housing market.
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