April 30, 2018 / 10:48 AM / 25 days ago

Five of 6 Bank of Israel MPC members voted to hold key rate at 0.1 pct

JERUSALEM, April 30 (Reuters) - Five of the six rate setters at Israel’s central bank voted to leave the benchmark interest rate at 0.1 percent on April 16, the same it has been for more than three years, minutes of the discussions showed on Monday.

For the second month in a row, one member voted for a 15 basis point rate increase to 0.25 percent.

Committee members cited a very low inflation environment and argued that raising rates before inflation returns to its annual target range of 1 to 3 percent would delay the return of inflation to its target and keep the interest rate at a low level.

Israel’s annual inflation rate was 0.2 percent in March.

They also said the economy was growing at an “adequate pace” that is in line with its potential growth rate and that the labour market remained tight, reflected in low unemployment and rapidly rising wages.

A rate hike is expected in late 2018 or in 2019.

Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by Ari Rabinovitch

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