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October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘shekel’

Shekel-Dollar Rate Sinks Below 3.53

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The American dollar’s worldwide weakness helped drive down the shekel-dollar rate to below 3.53 shekels to the dollar Thursday, the lowest level since September 2011. One shekel now is worth 28 cents.

Analysts have pointed to the lack of certainty over who will replace Stanley Fischer as Governor of the Bank of Israel, but the main influence on the shekel has been the weakening dollar.

Intervention by the Bank of Israel, which bought $100 million of dollars Wednesday, did little to weaken the shekel against speculators who are betting on the shekel dollar rate to continue to drop. The shekel might weaken is and when the Federal Reserve Board explicitly announces it will reduce its bond purchases.

Google to Buy Waze for $1.3 Billion

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Google will fork out $1.3 billion to buy the Israeli-based Waze social-friendly navigation app, the Hebrew-language Globes business newspaper reported Sunday. Waze’s staff reportedly will remain in Raanana.

Facebook reportedly was in front of the lineup to buy Waze, but Waze rejected the condition that its staff be transferred to the United States. Waze may also have been holding out for more money, and Google came up with the right price.

Apple had been rumored to be a potential bidder, but Apple CEO Tim Cook denied those reports.

Waze has soared in popularity, with more than 50 million users around the world, and that number is growing every day.

Google has shown that it loves Israel. In 2010, it bought up website gadget developer LabPixies for $25 million and interactive video-clip developer QuikSee for $10 million, and has set up a Google office here. Facebook, on the other hand, has closed down the Israeli operations of most of the companies it bought up.

The Waze app allows drivers using smartphone and tablet to share information on driving times and traffic situations, as well as the location of police radar traps, accidents and hazardous conditions. Based on user-shared information, it helps users find the fastest path to their destination taking into account traffic conditions and preferred routes.

The $1.3 billion price tag is more than 40 times the $30 million of financing Waze received less than year ago, three years after it was founded.  Waze’s founders will be instant multi-millionaires thanks to the Google purchase, which has not been officially confirmed.

But no one has denied the purchase eitehr. Waze told Globes “no comment,” and Google said, “We don’t relate to rumors and speculation.”

The influx of another $1.3 billion into Israel is great news for the Finance Ministry and for anyone purchasing items whose prices are based on the dollar. It is terrible news for exporters and for Israelis whose salaries come from the United States.

The influx of dollars will put downward pressure on the shekel-dollar rate, which dropped last week to 3.61 shekels to the dollar.

Last month. Warren Buffet paid out $2 billion to buy the remaining shares of the Iscar precision tool maker, and PepsiCo and Coca Cola are now rumored to be offering approximately $2 billion for the Israeli SodaStream manufacturer of machines that convert tap water into soda, and which had become an international hit.

The influx of those big bucks, along with the prospects of Israel’s exporting gas and bringing in more foreign currency, has strengthened the shekel. It also is a major headache for corporations and wage earners whose profits and salaries are in dollars and then converted to shekels.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has tried to battle the drop in the shekel-dollar rate by cutting the interest rate by a quarter of a percent, twice in two weeks, and announcing a $2 billion buying binge of dollars. So far, the “Fischer effect” has been negligible and the rate has continued to drop.

Following the report of the Google purchase of Waze, the exchange rate may drop again Monday when currency trading resumes, unless Fischer buys more dollars – lots of them.

Report: PepsiCo Offered $2B for ‘Settlements’ Labeled SodaStream

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

With SodaStream, we could have saved 500 million bottles on Game Day alone. If you love the bubbles set them free.”

PepsiCo is negotiating with Israeli-based SodaStream to buy out the firm for $2 billion, according to the Israeli Calcalist business newspaper. SodaStream’s shares in Germany shot up nearly 20 percent after the report.

SodaStream, listed on NASDAQ, manufactures machines that make carbonated drinks from tap water and also produces flavors, carbon dioxide refills and re-usable bottles.

Officials at the two companies refused to comment on the report or were not available.

SodaStream has become a big hit in the United States, where the company “stole the show” with its commercials during the Super Bowl this year, drawing bitter complaints from carbonated beverage companies, which applied pressure to CBS for SodaStream to tone down its message  that buying carbonated beverages in plastic bottles is bad for the environment. Pepsi and Coke also did not like the idea of SodaStream making fun of their companies, and the original version of the commercial was canned but can be seen below

A buyout by PepsiCo, or possibly by Coca Cola if SodaStream wants to try for a larger purchase, could place the company’s facility in Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, in jeopardy.

Soda Stream is a favorite target of the Boycott Israel movement because of the plant’s location beyond the old borders of Israel. The rub, as Lori Lowenthal Marcus explained in an article Tuesday night, is that SodaStream’s American-born CEO Daniel Birnbaum promotes hiring and treating Palestinian Authority Arabs just like Jews.

Both Arab and Jews share the company dining hall in Maaleh Adumim, and there are facilities for both Muslim ands Jews to pray.

The Maaleh Adumim factory employs approximately 900 Arabs from Judea and Samaria. “Everyone works together – Palestinians, Russians, Jews,” a Palestinian employee named Rasim at the Maaleh Adumim site previously has been quoted as saying. “Everything is OK. I always work with Jews. Everyone works together, so of course we’re friends.”

The report of a possible buyout sent the shekel-dollar rate down approximately half a percentage point, to below 3.65 shekels to the dollar, because of the possible injection of $2 billion worth of shekels.


World Financial Honchos to Attend $30,000 Bye-Bye Bash to Fischer

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers will join several other world financial leaders on June 18 for a $30,000 farewell party for Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, the Globes business newspaper reported Thursday.

Fischer is leaving in the middle of his second term of office after having made aliyah to take the post as Bank Governor in 2005.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, Central Bank of Ireland Governor Patrick Honohan, Central Bank of Chile Governor Rodrigo Vergara, JPMorgan Chase International chairman and former Bank of Israel governor, Jacob Frankel and world monetary expert reportedly will be among those at the party.

Fischer began his term as Israel was riding a wave of strong economic growth and unprecedented stability and low inflation.

He is leaving behind a fractured economy and a housing shortage that has angered Israelis.

Dizzy Dollar Dumps the Shekel

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The shekel-dollar rate has soared 4 percent in the past two weeks, with the latest jump today (Wednesday) prompted by expectations that the Bank of Israel will lower the interest rate again in June.

The rate crossed the level of 3.69 shekels to the dollar on Wednesday after having dropped under 3.55 shekels to the dollar earlier this month.

After Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer announced a plan for a $2 billion buying binge to purchase dollars, the rate jumped towards 3.60 and then moved up again when he sprung a surprise mid-month quarter of a percent cut in the interest rate. The Bank almost always decides at the end of the nth on the interest rate for the following month.

A lower rate makes the shekel less attractive to investors and helps exporters, whose revenue Finance Ministry dollars will be worth more shekels after conversion.

Expectations of another cut to be announced next week caused speculators and investors to dump shekels Wednesday. Analysts are divided on whether the new upward trend of the shekel-dollar rate will continue or if the shekel will regain strength, partly due to plans to export natural gas from offshore discoveries.

Fischer Cuts Interest Rate and Says Bank to Buy 2 Billion Dollars

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer announced on Monday a surprise cut the prime interest rate as part of his battle to fight the appreciation of the shekel and help the economy to keep growing. The financial markets responded with the shekel-dollar rate rising more than 1.5 percent to the level of 3.61 shekels to the dollar.

Fischer announced the interest rate cut two weeks ahead of the usual end-of-the-month decision on whether to change the rate.

The dollar was worth only 3.55 shekels last week, dropping over the past several weeks from the relatively lofty level of 3.8 shekels to the dollar.

A lower shekel-dollar rate hurts exports because foreign buyers have to pay relatively more dollars than they would when the shekel is worth less. In addition, exporters make less money after converting foreign dollars into shekels.

Factors in the lower rate are the anticipation of tax revenue from Israel’s natural gas bonanza, which came on-stream several weeks ago, Warren Buffet’s $2 billion purchase of the remaining shares of the Israel-based Isracar tool-making company, the possibility of a $1 billion buyout of Waze by Facebook, and the relatively stable Israeli economy.

Fischer cut the rate by a quarter of a percent, with the new 1.5 percent rate making the shekel less attractive to foreign investors.

After the Bank of Israel’s two small purchases of dollars the past three weeks in an effort to keep speculators from forcing the shekel-dollar rate any lower, Fischer announced on Monday a massive dollar-buying plan on the scale of his purchases several years ago when the shekel-dollar rate sank to 3.30.

The Bank of Israel said the decisions to lower the rate and buy dollars was made “in light of the continued appreciation of the shekel, taking into account the start of natural gas production from the Tamar gas field, interest rate reductions by many central banks – notably the European Central Bank, the quantitative easing in major economies worldwide and the downward revision in global growth forecasts.”

The Bank of Israel added that global growth forecasts, especially for Europe and China have been revised downward, which effect Israel’s economy.

It explained that the program to buy dollars takes into account “the effects on the financial account resulting from the natural gas production” that will result in foreign exchange payments by the gas companies.

“As in the past, the Bank of Israel will continue to operate in the foreign exchange market in cases of exchange rate fluctuations which are not in line with fundamental economic conditions, or when conditions in the foreign exchange market are disorderly,” the Bank of Israel added.

Lapid is Still on a Roll, Poll Says

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

As many of you have known for a long time, I’m as out of the box as they come. My opinions rarely are the popular ones. If the Smith poll, which IMRA wrote about here, had asked me my opinion wouldn’t be like most others.

The poll shows/indicates that Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid political party is gaining in support and would receive as many seats as the combined Likud Beitenu (Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu). Many of the new voters would be those who are abandoning Kadima and Tzipi Livni’s Movement.

Here are the poll’s results:

If elections held today (expressed in Knesset seats) Current Knesset seats in [brackets]. Please note: There are 120 seats in the Knesset. Parties must receive a minimum of 2% of the valid votes cast in the elections to be included in the Knesset – this comes to 2.4 seats. After elections are held the coalition forming a government must receive 61 votes in a vote of confidence in the Knesset. 30 [31] Likud Beiteinu (Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu) 30 [19] Lapid “Yesh Atid” Party 13 [12] Bayit Yehudi 12 [15] Labor 10 [11] Shas 07 [07] Yahadut Hatorah 07 [06] Meretz 00 [06] Livni party “Hatnua” Party 00 [02] Kadima 11 [11] Arab parties

Of course this poll is just taking into account the political parties in today’s Knesset. Every time we have new elections, new parties sprout up like weeds. And to be super honest, I don’t see a party I’d vote for.

Actually, Lapid as Finance Minister, isn’t doing all that well. After campaigning to reduce the budget, he’s now raising it. Actually he had planned on increasing it much more but was taught that Israel would suffer in terms of its rating.

Following a downgrade to Israel’s S&P credit rating Thursday night, Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Friday backed down on his proposal to raise the 2013 deficit target to 4.9% of GDP from its current 3%, agreeing to set it at 4.65% instead. [Jerusalem Post]

Arutz 7 reports something very troubling about Lapid and how he’s functioning as Finance Minister.

“On Thursday it was reported that Lapid planned to increase the deficit target for 2013 to 4.9%. The move was met with anger because Lapid did not involve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his deliberations.

Lapid’s decision surprised Bank of Israel head Stanley Fischer as well. Fischer reportedly first heard of the news on Thursday evening as he landed in the United States.”

It would be better if Lapid was more a team player. He’s not supposed to be making such policy decisions on his own. Of course this is my opinion, and not all Israelis seem to agree with me.

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/shiloh-musings/lapid-is-still-on-a-roll-poll-says/2013/05/05/

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