Business in Brief

Moody’s leaves Israel’s credit rating unchanged

Moody’s left Israel’s credit rating unchanged at A1 with a stable outlook on Thursday. Moody’s is one of three international ratings agencies that rank Israel’s sovereign debt. On a visit to Israel a month ago, Moody’s officials said the economy was stable and that the country was steadily reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio. In May, while Israel was still hashing out its 2013-14 budget, Standard & Poor’s reduced its rating for Israel’s local currency, but left its foreign currency rating unchanged. Both are now A+ with a stable outlook. (Moti Bassok)

Israel looking to Latin America to spur growth

Israel is setting its sights on expanding its exports to Latin America, starting with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru, at the initiative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and these countries themselves. Netanyahu and his staff are looking for a new growth engine, partly due to the recession in Europe, one of Israel’s major export markets. Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru, which formed a trade bloc last year called the Pacific Alliance, account for 36% of Latin America’s output. (Moti Bassok)

July prices climbed 0.3%, fueled by alcohol

Prices increased by 0.3% in July, driven upward by higher taxation on alcoholic beverages, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. So far, prices are up 1.6% for the year and 2.2% for the past 12 months. As usual, the poor are feeling the price increases more than the rich – prices are up 3.1% for the bottom five deciles, but only 1.9% for the top five deciles. Fruit and vegetable prices are up 9.6% for the past year, and 3.3% for July. In July, alcohol prices spiked 35% due to a tax reform. The price of clothing and shoes dropped 8% in July. (Moti Bassok)

Daniel Bar-On