Israel’s benchmark interest rate for March will be left unchanged at 0.1 percent, the Bank of Israel announced Monday. Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug said the Israeli central bank’s quantitative easing and low interest rate will continue for “an extended period.”
The bank explained that its decision on the interest rate stemmed from encouraging data regarding the national job market, as shown in a new report by Israel’s Central Bureau Statistics. According to that report, unemployment stayed at 5.1 percent last month. Another key factor was the Israeli economy’s overall performance. The fourth quarter of 2015 saw an annual growth rate of 3.3 percent in the Jewish state, a pace that surprised many analysts.
The decision not to change the interest rate was influenced by the volatility in the capital markets in Israel and abroad, the bank added. Meanwhile, the bank’s monetary committee expressed concern Monday over the state of the Israeli housing market, noting that “home prices accelerated…and rose by 8 percent over the past 12 months.”