Just over a month after turning more upbeat on the economy, the Bank of Israel is still unlikely to tinker with its near-zero interest rates even as it confronts a renewed surge in Covid-19 cases and strengthening shekel.
Coronavirus infections plummeted after the government imposed a near-total shutdown from mid-March through late April, but opening up the economy has brought the disease back to new daily highs. The second wave of contagion is almost certain to complicate plans by the central bank to step aside in favor of a primarily fiscal response to the crisis, forcing investors to reassess its appetite for market intervention.
While analysts surveyed by Bloomberg unanimously expect the monetary committee on Monday to leave the key rate at an all-time low of 0.1%, it may follow the U.S. Federal Reserve and consider more policy guidance or discuss a commitment to limit the yields on government bonds.
“What we could see is a more clear and sort of forceful forward guidance regarding future government bond purchases and yield curve control, which is the big topic these days,” said Jonathan Katz, an economist for Tel Aviv-based Leader Capital Markets Ltd., who expects no change to the benchmark rate this week.
45,283 in U.S.Most new cases today
-7% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
-1.063 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
-2.3% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), May