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January 15, 2018 4:51 pm

Israel’s Year-to-Year Inflation Rises for Fourth Straight Month

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli shekels. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel’s year-on-year inflation rate rose for the fourth straight month in December, to 0.4 percent, data from the Central Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

The consumer price index had risen 0.3 percent increase in November. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted the same rise for December.

Inflation for 2017 as a whole was also 0.4 percent, as prices in the full year rose for the first time since 2013. Prices fell 0.2 percent in 2016.

Prices began falling in Israel in September 2014 and kept doing so for 28 months in a row before turning positive in January for five months, hitting 0.9 percent in March.

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Compared with November, consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in December.

Expectations that inflation would stay below the government’s 1-3 percent target in the near term drove the Bank of Israel to cut benchmark interest rates in early 2015 to 0.1 percent from 0.25 percent.

The bank has since held the rate steady and projects a rate of 1.1 percent in 2018. It expects a strong shekel and a strong economy.

The bank’s next rate decision is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Bank of Israel economists believe the benchmark interest rate will remain at 0.1 percent for most of this year, rising in the fourth quarter to end 2018 at 0.25 percent.

Central bank chief Karnit Flug has said rates likely will not rise until inflation is back to within its target range.

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