Business in Brief

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Forecast sees inflation approaching government’s target ceiling

The capital market forecasts inflation in Israel over the next months at a relatively high 2.7% based on the yield spread between inflation-linked and unlinked government bonds, the Bank of Israel said Monday. But its poll of bank and other economists showed inflation coming in at a much lower 1.8% for the same period. The government’s annual inflation target is 1% to 3%, with the bank aiming for the midpoint. The Bank of Israel figures also showed a 1.8% monthly increase in the money supply for February to an all-time high of NIS 129 billion. Over the past 12 months money supply expanded by 12.9%, a pace that signals that inflation is on the rise. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

World Bank’s IFC unit looks at 12 startups for investment

Paula Alayo, the regional investment officer for the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, was in Israel last week to meet with 12 startup companies developing technologies for the environment. The IFC is looking into investing up to $30 million in advanced-stage Israeli startups specializing in cleantech, which accounted for most of the $100 million it invested in startups around the world last year. Alayo said the IFC is also interested in Israeli companies investing in emerging markets in financial, infrastructure and in manufacturing industries. As of June 30, the IFC had $58 million invested in Israel in three projects, but none engaged in cleantech, she said. ‏(Inbal Orpaz‏)

Tibi submits bill for canceling TV tax

Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi ‏(United Arab List - Ta’al‏) has introduced a bill to abolish the television license fee. With the wide range of TV broadcasts available over the Internet and the use of sets for purposes other than TV viewing, most Israelis no longer use TVs for picking up broadcast signals, Tibi’s office said, explaining the measure. Tibi claims public broadcasting could be funded through various other means, including advertising, pointing out that the Israel Broadcasting Authority isn’t living up to its commitment to original televised content and productions.‏(Amitai Ziv‏)

Walla leads Israeli website viewing for February

Walla was once again the favorite Israeli website for Internet surfers in February with 2.46 million visitors and 47% exposure, according to figures released Monday by the Israel Internet Association’s rating committee. It was followed by Ynet, with 2.1 million visitors and 40% exposure, and Mako in third place, with a 32% exposure. All three suffered a drop from January figures, apparently due to the January 22 elections, which increased demand for news. TheMarker’s website closed February’s top ten list with 12.32% exposure, ahead of rivals financial and business news Globes and Calcalist, which placed 13th and 14th respectively, according to the committee’s figures. ‏(Maya Epstein‏)

Bank of Israel building. Credit: Emil Salman