JERUSALEM, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Israel's central bank announced on Thursday that it will keep the base interest rate for the next six and a half weeks at the rate of 0.25 percent.
The bank said that considering Israel's low inflation environment, the monetary policies of major central banks, developments in the global economy, and the exchange rate development, it is necessary to leave the interest rate at its current level for a prolonged period or to reduce it.
This policy aims to support a process at the end of which inflation will stabilize around the midpoint of the governmental annual target range (1 to 3 percent), so that the Israeli economy will continue to grow strongly.
The bank noted that Israel's November consumer price index (CPI) was lower than expected, and the inflation over the past 12 months was only 0.3 percent, below the target.
The bank added that during 2019, the new shekel strengthened by 8.3 percent in terms of the nominal effective exchange rate (shekel's value against a weighted average of several foreign currencies).
The development continues to make it difficult to return inflation to the target range.
The bank said most indicators of economic activity point to continued solid growth in the fourth quarter of 2019, but it is expected to slow somewhat in 2020.