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Foreign investors today see Israel as a relatively strong economy with "very positive" macroeconomic indicators, Leader Capital Markets Ltd. economists said Sunday.
"Investment in Israel is considered to be a 'defensive play,' that is, less exposed to emerging markets' sharp fluctuations," the firm noted.
"This image," it said "will last as long as Israel doesn't 'spoil' the reliability of the economic policy (in particular fiscal reliability), and no change takes place in the security situation."
In May, foreign investors sold $153 million net of their holdings in the Israeli capital market (not including Nasdaq stocks), including $50m. in stocks and $103m. in bonds.
"All in all, this is a small volume of sales when compared with other emerging markets," Leader said, noting that the foreign investors had acquired $581m. net in stocks and $381m. in bonds up until the end of April, and $2.1 billion in stocks and $0.5b. in bonds in 2005.
"The extent of realizations in May is not particularly exceptional. Exactly one year ago foreigners sold $59m. net in shares. In March 2005 foreigners sold $259m. in bonds," the analysts said.
"The capital market in Israel will not be cut off entirely from trends among emerging markets, but is likely to demonstrate 'relative stability,'" Leader predicted.
In the past, the Israeli capital market was strongly influenced by shifts in emerging markets, the firm said, citing the Russian financial crisis in 1998 as an example.