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Shekel weakens at opening

The shekel has weakened against the US dollar and the euro at the start of trading this week on the foreign exchange market. The shekel-dollar rate is up 0.8% in comparison with Friday’s representative rate, at NIS 3.9452/$ , and the shekel-euro rate is up 0.28%, at NIS 4.5619/.

Sentiment towards the shekel may have been weakened by heightened security tensions in the region, following the air strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights yesterday attributed to the Israel Air Force that killed several Hezbollah operatives, among them Jihad Mughniyeh, a local commander who was the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a Hezbollah military leader who was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008, an assassination also attributed to Israel.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange is down nearly 8%, following the release of figures showing a 4.3% drop in housing prices in China, and the imposition of regulatory restrictions on three large brokers.

FXCM comments in its market review this morning, “In the foreign exchange market, the great drama last week came from the Swiss National Bank, which unpegged the Swiss franc from the euro, abandoning its policy of the past three years. The decision by Switzerland’s central bank not only sent the franc soaring, but also depressed the euro against other major currencies, since it greatly boosted speculation that the European Central Bank will carry out massive monetary expansion that will weaken the euro in the coming year. The euro fell to a twelve-year low against the US dollar, and the shekel-euro rate fell almost to NIS 4.5/, its lowest level since October 2002.

“The dollar index, by contrast, climbed to a new peak last week, and is at its highest since November 2003. The dollar strengthened despite poor US macro figures that somewhat cooled sentiment towards the US economy and expectations of an interest rate rise there. The strength of the dollar chiefly derived from the weakness of other currencies, the euro and commodity currencies.

“The downward move by the shekel-dollar rate was halted last week in the area of the recent lows around NIS 3.87/$ , and the pair is now traded above NIS 3.93/$ . A rise above NIS 3.97/$ could again pave the way to the key level of NIS 4/$ .”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com – on January 19, 2015

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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