News Column

Israel's Foreign Currency Market in July 2014

August 10, 2014

JERUSALEM, Aug. 10 -- The Bank of Israel issued the following news release:

1. The Exchange Rate

The shekel strengthened against the dollar, in contrast with the strengthening dollar worldwide.

In July, the shekel strengthened by about 0.3 percent against the dollar and by about 2.2 percent against the euro. Against the currencies of Israel's main trading partners, in terms of the nominal effective exchange rate of the shekel (i.e., the trade-weighted average shekel exchange rate against those currencies), the shekel strengthened by about 1.4 percent.

In July, the dollar strengthened against most currencies--including by about 2.1 percent against the Swiss franc, by about 1.9 percent against the euro, by about 0.85 percent against the British pound, and by about 1.5 percent against the Japanese yen.

2. Exchange Rate Volatility

Actual volatility of the exchange rate increased along with a decline in the implied volatility of the exchange rate.

The standard deviation of changes in the shekel-dollar exchange rate, which represents its actual volatility, increased in July by about 0.5 percentage points to 3.9 percent.

The average level of implied volatility in over the counter shekel-dollar options--an indication of expected exchange rate volatility--declined to 5.9 percent at the end of July, compared with 6.1 percent in June.

At the same time, in July, the implied volatility in foreign exchange options in emerging markets also declined, to 6.8 percent on average. The implied volatility in foreign exchange options in advanced economies declined as well in July, to 5.5 percent at the end of the month.

3. The Volume of Trade in the Foreign Currency Market

Total trading volume increased as a result of an increase in swap transaction volume. Nonresidents' share of total trading volume declined.

The total volume of trade in foreign currency in July was about $147 billion, compared with about $128 billion in June. Average daily trading volume remained virtually unchanged in July, at about $6.4 billion.

The volume of trade in spot and forward transactions (conversions) was about $34 billion in July, similar to the volume for June. The average daily trading volume in those transactions declined in July by about 16 percent compared with June. During July, the Bank of Israel bought $300 million through conversion transactions[1].

The volume of trade in over the counter foreign currency options (which are not traded on the stock exchange) totaled about $9 billion in July. The average daily trading volume in those options in July was about $400 million, a decline of about 6 percent from its level in June.

The trading volume of swap transactions was about $103 billion in July, compared with $84 billion in June. Average daily turnover increased by about 7 percent from the previous month, to around $4.5 billion.

Nonresidents' share of total trade (spot and forward transactions, options and swaps) declined in July, to about 25 percent, compared with about 30 percent in June.

See chart & table here:

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Source: Targeted News Service

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