(MENAFN - Trend News Agency) The Bank of Israel reported today that it bought almost $2 billion in foreign currency in March. This brings its foreign currency purchases in the first three months of 2021 to $13.7 billion, nearly half of the $30 billion in foreign currency that it announced in January that it would buy in all of 2021. Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Amir Yaron has already made it clear that the foreign currency purchases could exceed the initially declared amount of $30 billion, Trend reports with reference to Globes .
In 2020 the Bank of Israel bought $21 billion in foreign currency, equal to all its foreign currency purchases between 2016 and 2019.
Israel's foreign exchange reserves at the end of March 2021 stood at a record $185.69 billion, up $635 million from their level at the end of February. The reserves represent 46% of GDP and estimates are that this figure could rise to 50% by the end of the year.
The shekel has appreciated by 39% since 2008 when the Bank of Israel began its foreign currency purchasing program.
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