Omicron Scare Knocks Shekel Down

YERUSHALAYIM -
The New York Stock Exchange, in lower Manhattan. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The ever-strong shekel showed it was not immune to turmoil in international markets caused by, among other things, the emergence of a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant called Omicron.

The Bank of Israel on Sunday set the representative shekel-dollar rate up 0.760% from Thursday, at NIS 3.1921/$, and the representative shekel-euro rate was set 1.127% higher at NIS 3.6131/€, Globes reported.

The adjustment was being made as a curtain of travel restrictions came down, as western countries sought to isolate themselves from variant carriers, primarily from southern African countries.

Stock markets were falling in Europe with the FTSE Index in London down 2.77% at the end of the week. Commodity prices are also falling with a barrel of Brent crude oil down 5.74% in price. Wall Street, which was closed for Thanksgiving, was expected to fall sharply. Bearish markets tend to weaken the shekel as Israeli institutional investors are forced to buy foreign currency to hedge their overseas positions.