The international financial media is worrying about double-dip recession. In Israel, there is continuing concern that the high tech revolution is faltering; has there been a failure to convert an innovation prowess into global economic powerhouses?
For the meantime, the bland economic stats reveal that Israel’s economy is managing to rise above the “woe-is-me” attitude in Europe and in the USA. For the first half of 2010, growth was registered at over 4%, back to the heights of 2007. And much of this gain as prompted by a significant leap in high tech exports.
I have written several times that Israel’s economy is at the beginning of a structural change, which will reap many long term benefits; specifically, accession to full membership of the OECD and acceptance at the top level of the MSCI stocks index. There are now proven off-shore commercial reserves of natural gas, and it is becoming likelier that “black gold” is also out there – which together they will cause a major positive shift in the country’s finances.
You know that these are not meaningless words when you learn that international banks are starting to move into Israel. Until now, only HSBC and 3 other overseas groups have been offering commercial services. About 10 others have rep offices, mainly in Tel Aviv.
It has now been reported that banks from at least Germany, Canada, Holland, France, Italy and the USA have been conducting discussions with the Bank of Israel in order to offer their full services in the Holy Land. And they would not be doing that just to win over a few household clients.
Any connection: Israel’s leading banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, are reporting strong profits for 2010.