Stanley Fischer chosen top central banker

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 10, 2010 19:28

"Euromoney" magazine praises Fischer for "taking bold risks" and helping Israel's economy stay afloat during economic crisis.

4 minute read.



Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer

stanley fischer 311. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has been named central bank governor of the year by Euromoney, a global magazine for banking and finance, for successfully managing the economy through the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

“Israel’s resilience during the financial crisis and its aftermath proves that Fischer is worthy of the respect that he commands at the top of the financial community,” Euromoney said. “His bold move to raise interest rates in September 2009 – the first country to do so after the crisis – proved well-guided and prescient.

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Further rises have also been well-timed, allowing the economy to grow at a healthy rate of 4.7 percent in the second quarter of 2010 while keeping inflation in check at around 1.8%.”

The Central Bank Governor of the Year 2010 award was presented to Fischer on Sunday by Euromoney chairman Padraic Fallon at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington. The reception took place during the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Euromoney has been honoring the world’s best central bankers and finance ministers for more than 30 years.

Among the past winners are European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, Brazil’s Henrique Meirelles and Mexico’s Guillermo Ortiz.

Euromoney commended Fischer for striking the ideal balance between moderating inflation and supporting economic recovery.

“His innovative move towards an interventionist exchange-rate policy, whilst controversial at the time, has bolstered Israel’s reserves while boosting the country’s exports, which are key to its economic performance,” the magazine said. “Despite Israel’s political and regional difficulties, Fischer’s policies contributed to Israel’s admission to the OECD in May this year.”

Bank Hapoalim chairman Yair Seroussi said Israel’s resilience throughout the global economic crisis and its impressive performance over the past year, relative to the stagnation in most of the developed countries, was a recurring theme in conversations held at the annual IMF meeting.

“Again this year, Israel’s economy and banking system have drawn a great deal of appreciation and interest at the IMF meetings,” he said. “There is strong reason to believe that in the near future new institutional investors from around the world will begin investing in Israel, which is widely perceived as an exceptionally attractive economy, offering the dual advantage of a developed economy and a relatively high growth rate.”

“There is a significant increase in both the number of meetings and in their level of sophistication,” Seroussi said. “Senior economic officials from many countries have extensive knowledge of the Israeli economy and an interest in its stability, its resilience throughout the global crisis and its growth rate, which is expected to reach around 4% this year.”

In meetings and conversations, he said, people took particularly note of the improvement in the labor market, reflected in the decrease in the unemployment rate to 6.2%, and the financial stability of Israel overall and the banking sector in particular.

“Leading global organizations have expressed an interest in collaborating with us in various areas, dialogues have begun, and we will thoroughly examine the opportunities available in the markets,” Seroussi said.

Euromoney presented the Finance Minister of the Year 2010 award to Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. The magazine praised Kudrin for his policy of saving the windfall Russia made from its oil boom in a stabilization fund – for which he had to withstand huge political pressure – that was crucial to the country’s ability to emerge from the global financial crisis in a much better shape than most had expected.

“Kudrin is rightly hailed as a fiscal manager of the highest order,” Euromoney said. “Not just in the West, where his championing of the free market and fiscal prudence long made him a favourite of foreign investors, but also in Russia, a country which has not always taken kindly to reformers.”

“Entering the financial crisis with nearly $600 billion in foreign reserves allowed Russia to manage a 30% decline in the ruble,” the magazine said. “The stabilization fund also enabled Russia to pay off its foreign debt early. Kudrin is also rightly praised for his commitment to tax and budget reform, Russia’s desire to join the World Trade Organization and continuing the progress in privatization.”

Recent winners of Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year award have included China’s Xie Xuren, Indonesia’s Mulyani Indrawati and Canada’s Jim Flaherty.

Last month, Fischer was named as one of the world’s top 10 central bankers by Global Finance magazine.

Fischer was given an “A” grade along with Turkey’s Durmus Yilmaz, South Korea’s Lee Seongtae, the ECB’s Trichet and Australia’s Glenn Stevens.

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