Shekel Hits 9-year High Against US Dollar

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Israel’s mainly investment and export-oriented economy will be hit by the growing US financial crisis and worsening housing data that is leading to a rise of the Israeli Shekel against the beleaguered US dollar. On November 20, the Israel Export Institute warned this could lead to losses of billions of shekels to exporters and threaten the competitiveness of the local export industry if the government doesn’t step in to restore the confidence of exporters. On a side note, this also suggests Israelis — already the world’s loftiest travelers — will be traveling abroad even more than they already do, if that is possible.

As a result of the continued weakness of the dollar, many exporters refrain from signing new deals or contracts committing them in the future,” he said. “This situation could challenge Israel’s competitiveness in a couple of months unless the government acts to restore the confidence of Israeli exporters.”Click for full Article

In the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where the export crisis and general economic situation is far more dire, the Israeli government has made some concessions to allow limited exports from Gaza in anticipation of the upcoming Annapolis peace parley next week, exports which stopped when Israel declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity” in response to the almost daily Qassam rocket attacks in the Western Negev desert:

Israel will permit farmers in the Gaza Strip to export their entire crop of strawberries and flowers to Europe, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon said Wednesday, in its first easing of trade restrictions imposed on the impoverished territory since Hamas seized control in June. The Israeli decision is meant as a goodwill message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of the US-hosted Middle East conference set to take place next week, Simhon said. A formal renewal of peace talks is expected at the meeting in Annapolis, Maryland… Click for full article.

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