Interest Kept Firm at 0.5%

As expected, the Bank of Israel left its overnight rate to banks for June 2009 unchanged at 0.5%. Low interest rates combined with its other monetary-control tools, namely buying dollars and government bonds, supports the restoration of economic growth and Israel's resilience to the winds of the global storm, according to the central bank.

The present rate, which including June will have been in place for four months, should also help the Bank of Israel manage to keep inflation in the range of 1% to 3%, which is defined as price stability, it said. Inflation expectations in the marketplace, looking 12 months ahead, are roughly in the middle of that target range.

Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer suggested in the statement that the indicators show that the Israeli economy's downtrend is easing. Fischer expects growth to resume towards the end of the year, which places him in the optimistic camp among local economists.