We Are Not Alone

"When everyone else is in trouble too, that is a small bit of comfort," as the saying goes. At least the President of the Manufacturers Association Shraga Brosh, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and the governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer could have told themselves this. The three, who have a hard time sleeping at night because of the shekel's strength against the dollar, heard once again yesterday that they were not alone: the leaders in charge of the global economy who met over the weekend feel quite the same.

The weakness of the dollar is problematic for almost the entire world. The Europeans, just like Israel, are in the midst of a crisis; a low dollar makes it hard for them to export their goods to the United States and other markets around the world which in practical terms are linked to the dollar.

The United States, whose exports actually benefit from the falling dollar, has different considerations. The Americans must guard the dollar's position as the world's main currency for trade and savings, otherwise they'll have a hard time continuing to issue bonds and rolling over their huge national debt.

The big question is whether the heads of the major economic powers will take practical steps to change the present trend of the dollar - and not simply make do with making statements. Brosh, Steinitz and Fischer would be thrilled if the rest of the world solved their problem of the strong shekel for them, but at this stage that is nothing more than a wish.