acting PM olmert 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
After urging government ministers to "go to work", acting Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ehud Olmert made an extra effort on Sunday afternoon to help markets bounce back from Thursday's slide following news of the deterioration in the medical condition of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"We've been looking over our shoulders at Hadassah Hospital, hoping to hear good newsâ€¦ I hope that the good news will continue to come in from that direction," Olmert said in his opening remarks at a Jerusalem press conference summing up the 2005 budget and the guidelines for the 2006 budget.
Olmert's assurances appeared to be making their mark on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, as the TA 25 gained 1.93 percent, the TA 100 was up 2.12% while the Tel Tech jumped 3.15%.
On Thursday, news of Sharon's deterioration sent the markets plummeting as the TA 25 lost 3.9% while the TA 100 dropped 3.9%
"2005 ended with significant improvements in Israel's economy," Olmert continued. "The growth was 5.2 percent, which is significant even in comparison to European and North American countries."
"The unemployment rate is also declining steadily," Olmert added. "At the end of the year, we have reached a rate of 8.9%, which is higher than we want to see at the end of the year. But when you take into account that not too long ago, we had an unemployment rate of 11.5%, we can definitely appreciate the decrease, which encourages us to continue our efforts."