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Bank of Israel trims interest rate decisions to eight a year


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Bank of Israel said on Tuesday it will reduce the frequency of interest rate decisions it makes to eight times a year from the current 12, bringing it in line with leading global central banks.

The bank's monetary committee voted 3-1 in favor of the change, which will come into effect sometime in 2017. It said a schedule for next year's interest rate decisions would be published in the coming weeks.

The central bank has been examining such a change for months, noting that "the global trend is to reduce the frequency of the decision".

"A frequency of monthly decisions is today mostly a feature of developing economies, and economies characterized by a high basic rate of inflation," the central bank said.


Israel's economy is stable enough, the committee determined, that the benefits, like allowing for better analysis of economic trends, outweigh the loss in flexibility of monthly decisions.

"The volatility of Israel’s main economic variables - GDP, inflation, and effective exchange rate - is not high in international comparison," the bank said. "Rapid responses to stabilize (long-term inflation) expectations are not required."

The frequency of interest rate decisions was recently reduced to eight at the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Band of England to match that of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The committee members also said that in those cases, "a negative market reaction was not seen."

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer, Larry King)