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Bank of Israel holds benchmark rate at 0.1% as pandemic casts pall

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The Bank of Israel on Monday kept its key lending rate unchanged at 0.1 percent as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on economic activity and a second lockdown led to a sharp increase in unemployment.

“The economy is in a prolonged exit process from the second lockdown, but there is uncertainty regarding the continuation of the exit from the lockdown in view of the apparent increase in morbidity,” the central bank said in a statement.

The broad unemployment rate reached approximately 23 percent of the labor force in the first half of October, compared with about 11 percent in the first half of September. With the start of easing the lockdown, the unemployment rate moderated to approximately 18%, the central bank said in a statement.

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© The Times of Israel

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