Euro Touches 14-year Low Against the Shekel

Business in Brief | Leviathan wins $2 billion gas deal; Spacecom piggybacks on AsiaSat satellites; Tel Aviv Stocks down for fourth day running.

Volunteers count the coins paid by voters who each paid two euros to register their vote in the conservatives' primary contest, Marseille, November 27, 2016.
Volunteers count the coins paid by voters who each paid two euros to register their vote in the conservatives' primary contest, Marseille, November 27, 2016. Claude Paris / AP

The euro touched it lowest level in 14 years against the shekel Thursday, trading as low as 4.06 shekels before a small recovery. The Bank of Israel rate was set at 4.0755 shekels and the currency was as weak as 4.0592 in late trading. The euro has been under pressure in the global currency market since the Brexit vote in June, and the pressure has grown since Donald Trump’s election victory, which has boosted U.S. interest rates and the dollar, said Vered Yitzhaki, who is in charge of forex trading at Excellence Investment House. Meanwhile, she added, the shekel has strengthened on Israel’s strong economic performance and is at a record high against the basket of currencies. But Yitzhaki says the euro’s worst days were probably behind it, despite the risks from elections in France and elsewhere on the Continent. “I believe the political risks have been priced in and the currency is now at an attractively low level,” she said. (Guy Erez)

Leviathan partners sign deal 
to sell $2 billion of gas to Dalia
The partners in the Leviathan natural gas field said Thursday they had signed a deal worth about $2 billion to supply gas to Dalia Power Energies. Under the deal, Dalia Israel’s largest privately owned power company will receive 8.8 billion cubic meters of gas for up to 20 years after production starts in 2019 or 2020. Although most of Leviathan’s 622 cubic meters of natural gas is earmarked for exports, the deal with Dalia marks the second domestic contract its partners have signed in the past week after Paz Oil signed a deal worth up to $700 million to buy 3.12 billion cubic meters from Leviathan over 15 years. Shares of Avner and Delek Drilling, which each hold a stake of about 23% stake in the field, both ended the day little changed at 2.65 shekels (69 cents) and 14.26 shekels respectively. (TheMarker Staff)

Spacecom finds satellite 
to replace its ill-fated Amos 6
Spacecom said Thursday it had reached an agreement to use satellites operated by Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company (AsiaSat) to provide services for customers who had been counting on the ill-fated Amos 6. Under the agreement signed with the Hong Kong-based company, Spacecom will pay $22 million a year for four years to use AsiaSat satellites to supply communications services in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, with an optional fifth year. The customers are now using Spacecom’s Amos 2 satellite, but that is due to be taken out of service in the first quarter of next year. Amos 6 was supposed to replace it, but it was destroyed by an explosion just before its launch in September. The agreement comes a day after Spacecom said China’s Beijing Xinwei Technology Group had agreed to buy the company for a reduced price of $190 million due to the loss, but other issues were still be negotiated. On Thursday, Spacecom shares ended 2.8% higher at 27.69 shekels ($7.22). (Guy Erez)

Tel Aviv shares end lower 
for fourth straight session
Tel Aviv stocks fells for the fourth straight day Thursday as Bezeq and technology shares fell. The blue-chip TA-25 index lost 0.5% to 1,438.25 points, while the TA-100 shed 0.4% to 1,258.89, on turnover of 1.33 billion shekels ($350 million). Among the most heavily traded stocks of the day, Bezeq finished down 3% at 6.87, and Elbit Systems dropped 2% to 380. LivePerson led TA-1-00 tech shares lower, tumbling 4.3% to 30.54. But insurance shares rallied on news that their exposure to claims on last week’s wildfires would be small. Clal led gainers on a 3.2% rise to 49.77, and Harel climbed 3% to 16.84. Teva reversed course after falling 2.8% on Wednesday to show a 1.4% gain for the day. Shapir Engineering finished 2.1% up at 8.40 after the company said it had sold a 5.2% block of shares to institutions that would raise it float to 25%. Israel Chemicals rose 2.65% to 15.09. (Guy Erez)