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The dollar has risen 4.7 percent and the stock market 17.6 percent since the Bank of Israel cut interest rates by two percent two weeks ago. Yesterday, after a stormy trading session, the dollar closed at NIS 4.473, an additional 0.8 percent increase over the previous day's trading.

Trading actually drove the dollar higher to NIS 4.485, but it settled at the 3:30 P.M. closing bell and then rose an additional 0.13 percent in after-day trading. (See Focus - Page A5)

The dollar is being strengthened by large-scale transfers of savings from shekels into mutual funds specializing in foreign currency. Institutional and foreign investors are shifting away from shekel accounts that until two weeks ago earned a hefty yield with little risk.

According to data released by the financial research firm Meitav, some NIS 2-2.5 billion has moved away from the shekel in the last two weeks, indicating that individuals are also taking part in the shift.

The stock exchange also continued to reflect the changed interest rates, with the Tel Aviv 100 rising another 0.44 percent to close at 466, 17.6 percent higher than two weeks ago. The TA 25 rose by 0.5 percent, to 480 points, as investors sought better returns on their money than straightforward savings accounts that no longer guarantee substantial returns.