Shekel Heads for 4-Month High Against Dollar on Vote; Bonds Gain

The shekel headed for the highest level in almost four months against the dollar and bonds rose as investors shifted their focus to a growing economy as worries over a military strike on Iran diminished.

The shekel strengthened as much as 0.6 percent against the dollar, before increasing 0.3 percent to 3.8521 at 4:37 p.m., poised for the highest settlement since June 19. The currency climbed as much as 0.4 percent against the euro before trading 0.2 percent lower at 4.9861. The yield on the benchmark bond due 2022 dropped three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 4.18 percent.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 9 called elections for early next year, while Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said today the economy is on path to grow 3.3 percent this year. The U.S. and its allies have imposed economic sanctions on Iran to coax the government into abandoning any plans to develop nuclear weapons.

“The Iran war talk has eased a bit as both the U.S. and Israeli leaders prepare for elections,” said Rony Gitlin, head of spot trading at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. “The market is recognizing that along with decent Israeli economic growth, there is a new sense of relative stability.”

One-year interest rate swaps, an indicator of investor expectations for the benchmark rate in the period, fell one basis point to 2.14 percent. The Tel Aviv Bond 40 Index, which measures inflation-linked and fixed-rate corporate bonds, gained 0.5 percent to 274.95, to the highest since Bloomberg started tracking the data in February 2008

The two-year break-even rate, the yield difference between the inflation-linked bonds and fixed-rate government bonds of similar maturity, widened two basis points to 279. That implies an average annual inflation rate of 2.79 percent over the period.

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