from the May 2011 issue

HSBC finds Israeli economy robust

Analyst Jonathan Katz sees positive fiscal news and strong consumer demand supporting a further interest rate hike for May.

HSBC expects a further 25 basis point rise in the Bank of Israel's key lending rate for May. Noting a strong fiscal performance in the first quarter and buoyant consumer demand, HSBC analyst Jonathan Katz describes the state of the Israeli economy as "robust," and says that this together with a possible ceasefire in Israel's southern region following an escalation of hostilities will be positive for the shekel. HSBC forecasts an end of year shekel dollar rate of NIS 3.4/$, which compares with a current rate of NIS 3.4389.

Katz writes that "the fiscal budget performance in the first three months of the year has been a pleasant surprise, reflecting a budget surplus of NIS 2.0 billion as compared to a budget deficit of NIS 3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2010."

On the consumer front, Katz notes that "strong tax revenues in March on the back of surging consumer imports (new vehicles especially) suggest that household demand remained strong last month."

Katz believes that the fiscal target of 3% of GDP will probably be met this year and that the government debt will decline from 75% of GDP in 2010 to 73% in 2011 (HSBC estimate), and possibly lower. "This is all good news for the long end of the curve as government bond issuance will remain low throughout the year." Katz notes that the Ministry of Finance is hopeful that Israel's credit rating will be revised upwards from A solid to A+, possibly towards the end of the year or early 2012, but adds that "much depends on the level of violence in the region."

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report May 2011

Click HERE to request further information.
Click HERE to go BACK.