Bernanke’s Bond Policy Weakens Shekel

YERUSHALAYIM -

A comment by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on bond purchases on Wednesday night had an immediate impact on shekel/dollar trading, as the shekel weakened on Thursday, Globes reported.

The shekel/dollar exchange rate rose 0.56% from Wednesday’s representative rate, to NIS 3.615/$, and the shekel/euro exchange rate fell 0.37% to NIS 4.797/€.

Bernanke said that the Fed will continue buying $85 billion in bonds for the coming few months, but will likely end purchases toward the end of the year. Experts say that Bernanke will likely reduce the purchases when unemployment reaches 7%, and halt them altogether when the unemployment target is achieved.

The Fed said yesterday that the risks to the economy and job market have been reduced since last fall, and growth should increase in 2014 after the 2013 slowdown. In 2014 and 2015, the Fed forecasts 3% growth.

The Fed expects U.S. unemployment to fall to 6.5% in 2014, and it stressed that interest rates will remain low while unemployment remains above this threshold.