The Bank of Israel on Wednesday said its total expenditure budget would be NIS 633 million in 2007, down from NIS 669m. in 2006, driven largely by wage costs that were expected to be NIS 22m. below last year's levels. The was the first time the central bank's expenditure and investment budget has been published, and was done as part of its policy of increased transparency. The bank's wage costs in 2007 will be NIS 256m., compared with NIS 279m. in the 2006 budget, while the cost of staff retirements in the current budget is NIS 87m. rather than the NIS 98m. included in last year's budget. The bank hopes to sign a new wage agreement in the near future and, following that, to promote the new Bank of Israel Law, the reorganization of the bank, and the early retirement program, which will reduce the central bank's staff by 10 percent, said Bank of Israel Director-General Jacob Danon. The final budget for 2007 depends on terms of the wage agreement being formulated, he noted. Operating costs were expected to amount to NIS 61m. compared to NIS 52m. in the 2006 budget.