Central banks can beat the market, Fischer warns speculators: In a complete break with conventional wisdom, governments can beat the market, says Stanley Fischer. It may be expensive but if they want to, central banks can keep buying up foreign currency forever, remarked Fischer at a gala meeting in Prague in honor of the 20th anniversary of the CNB National Bank's foundation, and the launch of independent Czech legal tender. Why did he say it, anyway? Because the Swiss National Bank said it would be prepared to buy infinite amounts of foreign currency – euros – to prevent the Swiss franc from spiraling through the roof. Well, it can, says Fischer. Now we know.
Analysts think euro will weaken further: While on foreign currency and euros, economists at the forex firm FXCM think the eurozone currency is likely to weaken further. In fact the euro's slump began even before Mario Draghi, the governor of the European Central Bank, delivered a pessimistic forecast for interest rates last week, say the people at FXCM. While the euro could correct upward as the trading week begins, FXCM suspects it's just a blip en route to an exchange rate of NIS 4.90 per euro or even less.
Slow boat to China? It may be Israeli government policy to encourage Israeli exports to China to compensate for shrinking exports to recession-stricken Europe. Even so, if exports by Intel Israel are removed from the equation, Israeli exports to China shrank by 16% in 2012 to $1.3 billion, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. (Intel Israel is responsible for about half of all Israeli exports to China, by the way.) Most of the non-Intellian exports were chemicals and minerals, which in English means "not advanced industrial products." It seems Israeli exporters need more encouragement.
Sunflower buying wind farm: Solar-power company Sunflower is working on expanding to wind. The company has agreed to buy a wind farm in Poland for NIS 35.7 million, though not only isn't the deal a done one – it might not be. The closing conditions include first of all, that the seller actually build the farm, and that its systems be connected to the grid. Also, it needs an electricity production license before Sunflower will consummate. The farm is to have production capacity of 4 megawatts, which translates into anticipated revenues of NIS 8.3 million a year. Closing is anticipated for late 2013 or early next year.
Clalit to cover fibroid removal by ultrasound: The Clalit healthcare fund has agreed to cover treatments done at Sheba Medical Center using Insightec's noninvasive ExAblate technology to treat womb fibroids. The technique involves MRI-guided ultrasound that destroys the unwanted tissue. Fibroids are extremely common, occurring in as many as 50% of fertile women. Surgical solutions cause damage to the womb at best (and the womb may be removed entirely at worst), while the Insightec technology leaves the womb intact.
Ron Eichel moving on from Meitav: Ron Eichel is losing his job as chief economist at Meitav after five years, because of the company's upcoming merger with DS Apex, which is coming with a head economist of its own. He's one of 190 looming layoffs following the merger, according to the manpower plan announced by the two firms. The chief economist at the merged entity will be Alex Zabezhinsky, who holds an MBA from Haifa University.
With reporting by Dror Reich, Shelly Appelberg, Yoram Gabison
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