Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of December 2019 stood at a record $126 billion, an increase of $3.64 billion from their level at the end of November, a report by the Bank of Israel said.
The reserves represent 32.8% of the GDP.
The increase was the result of foreign exchange purchases by the Bank of Israel totaling $2,266 billion to help Israeli exporters by weakening the shekel, a revaluation that increased the reserves by approximately $1,316 billion and government transfers from abroad totaling approximately $69 million.
In contrast, the increase was partly offset by private sector transfers of approximately $11 million.
The massive purchases of foreign currency were ineffective in helping the shekel-dollar exchange rate as the shekel gained 7.8% against the dollar in 2019.
Israel’s foreign currency reserves rose nearly 10% from $115.279 billion to $126.023 billion in 2019.