June 11, 2018 / 10:55 AM / 3 months ago

Five of 6 Bank of Israel MPC members voted to keep key rate at 0.1 pct -minutes

JERUSALEM, June 11 (Reuters) - Five of the six rate setters at Israel’s central bank voted to leave the benchmark interest rate at 0.1 percent on May 28, the same it has been for more than three years, minutes of the discussions showed on Monday.

For the third month in a row, one member voted for a 15 basis point rate increase to 0.25 percent, saying Israel’s low interest rate “is not in line with the parameters of the economy.”

Those voting for steady rates cited solid economic growth of 4.2 percent annualized in the first quarter, with a more balanced composition due to a rise in exports to go along with strong consumer spending, the central bank said.

Policymakers noted that the inflation environment is still low but inflation expectations are nearing the 1-3 percent annual target. Committee members said that increased competition and falling oil prices, if these trends continue, could delay the return of inflation to its target.

The Bank of Israel is widely expected to leave rates steady until at least later in 2018. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)

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