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Israel Asks Moody’s to Consider Raising its A1 Credit Rating

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has asked Moody’s Investors Service to consider raising the country’s A1 credit rating.

Steinitz met with Moody’s economists over the weekend, Boaz Stembler, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry, said by telephone today. Israel, which was added to MSCI Inc.’s developed market index in May 2010, is rated at Moody’s fifth-highest investment grade, the same level as South Korea and the Czech Republic.

Standard & Poor’s raised the country’s credit rating for the first time in four years in September, lifting Israel to A+, in line with Chile and Slovenia. S&P upgraded Israel to its fifth-highest level in view of its economic growth and expected production of natural gas by the middle of the decade, which it expects to increase economic efficiency and strengthen the nation’s fiscal and external positions.

The country’s economy will grow 3.2 percent in 2012, according to Finance Ministry projections. That’s almost three times the 1.2 percent average for the Group of 10 countries and faster than the 2.2 percent expansion in Norway, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Wrobel in Tel Aviv at swrobel4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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