Business in Brief: July 8

Fischer: We are seeing a slowdown in the rate of increase in housing prices, but the rate of the increase is still too high.

cottage cheese 311 R (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
cottage cheese 311 R
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Fischer plans to slow home prices
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is still concerned about the powerful rise in Israeli apartment prices. In light of the continued rise in apartment prices, he would take additional steps to cool off the housing market and put a brake on the price rises, he told a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange conference in London on Wednesday.
“We are seeing a slowdown in the rate of increase in housing prices, but the rate of the increase is still too high,” he said. “We will continue to work gradually to bring this under control reasonably soon... If there’s something like a bubble, you don’t want to take a heavy hammer and explode the whole thing. We have consciously taken serious measures to try and slow the rate of increase and not kill the market completely.”
Fischer said prices of homes in Israel had risen 50 percent in the past three years, adding that this was higher than the pace of home price rises in Ireland and the US leading up to the financial crisis in 2008. “We are worried because we can look at what happened to other countries,” he said.

Strauss: Consumers’ anger surprised us

In London “We were surprised at the strength of the cottage cheese crisis,” Strauss Group chairwoman Ofra Strauss said Thursday at the annual Tel Aviv Stock Exchange conference in London. “We were surprised by the impact of Facebook,” she said, adding that “we were surprised that our consumers were extremely angry.”
Strauss said the company believed its communications with consumers were very important. “It’s important for us to know what they want and what they are unhappy about,” she said. “So the power of the crisis surprised us... Once, I thought that the company’s aim was solely to sell more and more products. But now I understand that a company like Strauss Group also affects the quality of the environment and the quality of life of the consumer.”
April average wage reaches NIS 8,698
The average salary in Israel in April was NIS 8,698, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday. In the February-April period, the number of salaried jobs rose 1.7 percent to 2.964 million, following a 2.4% rise between last November and January.
Trend figures show a rise in the average salary at current prices. In February-April, the average salary rose by an annualized 5%, following a 5.2% annualized rise in November-January. At fixed prices there was also a rise, though much smaller. In February-April, the rise was 0.6% on an annual basis at fixed prices, while in November-January there was an annualized fall of 0.4%.
Once again, Israel Electric Corporation and Mekorot National Water Company employees were the foremost beneficiaries of the wage rise. The average salary at fixed prices rose by an annualized 5% at those two companies in February-April, following a annualized 2.5% rise from November-January.