While technically being out of the recession, Israel is facing difficult financial times, as employment is expected to continue rising, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said on Thursday.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Fischer explained that Israel's relatively swift economic recuperation was due mainly to the rather good condition in which Israel encountered the global financial crisis, reflected by state's budget being nearly balanced in 2007.
"The global financial crisis evoked substantially less damage here than in other countries in the world. We dealt with the crisis well, even though we didn't have the possibility to use the state's budget as a balancing element in the critical months, since the 2009 budget was only passed this June, due to the elections," Fischer said. "We had to act by lowering the interest rate and buying foreign currency. The Finance Ministry also partook in the efforts by establishing foundations for small and medium-sized businesses."
Defending the central bank's controversial massive US dollar purchases, which peaked at a daily $100,000,000 buy, Fischer explained that influencing the dollar-shekel balance was necessary to enable local exporters continue their business.
"We intervened when we saw that the financial crisis was heading this way, and stopped once it was clear that the recession was weakening," he said.