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Gasoline prices set to rise NIS 0.10 on Thursday night


By Hedy Cohen

Globes

The price of a liter of 95-octane gasoline at self-service pumps in Israel is set to rise NIS 0.10 to NIS 6.62 on Thursday night at midnight, May 1, sources in Israel’s energy market believe. The rise is caused by higher oil prices on global markets.

This would be the third consecutive month that fuel prices have risen in Israel after falling sharply to their lowest level in five years in February.

On global markets, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has reached a three – month high of $57.15, and a barrel of Brent crude is selling for $65.28, a three-month high. Prices are influenced by growing demand, dwindling supply and Middle East tensions.

The price of gasoline fell by NIS 0.63 per liter at the beginning of January, by NIS 0.15 at the beginning of December and by NIS 0.27 at the beginning of November due to the decline in the price of oil on world markets.

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Foreign banks exp3ct BoI to cut interst rate eventually


By Amiram Barkat

Globes

Leading foreign banks are convinced that the Bank of Israel will lower the country’s benchmark interest rate to zero in the next three months and subsequently launch quantitative easing.

Merrill Lynch expects the Bank of Israel Monteray Committee, headed by Governor Karnit Flug, to cut the interest rate from 0.1 percent to zero when it announces the interest rate for May on Monday. “The Bank of Israel loves to surprise investors, so it may well be that the interest-rate cut will be postponed,” Merrill Lynch said.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said it is likely that the Bank of Israel wont cut the interest rate at Mondays meeting. But RBS does expect a rate cut in the coming three months. RBS said the shekel exchange rate against the worlds major currencies is only 0.5% less than when the Bank of Israel cut the rate 15 basis points to its current historic low at the end of February.Furthermore, RBS said macroeconomic indicators for March show weakness in export orders, suggesting that the shekel is too strong.

HSBC has repeated its forecast last month that the Bank of Israel will cut the interest rate and launch quantitative easement. HSBC had predicted a bond-buying program of between NIS 27 billion to NIS 72b.

Merrill Lynch forecast that Israeli inteest rates will remain at zero at least until the second quarer of 2016.It will only begin rising again in May 2016 and will end 2016 at 0.25%, Merrill Lynch said. In its previous forecast, Merrill Lynch predicted a 0.75% interest rate at the end of 2016.


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Amdocs Israel seeks new local headquarters By Shomit Tsur


Globes

Technology company Amdocs Ltd., which occupies a giant 75,000- square-meter complex at the Ra’anana Junction, on Sunday notified its employees that it is looking for a new location in the central region. The company’s lease with REIT 1 Ltd., the owner of the company’s current site, expires at the end of 2019.

In its announcement to the employees, company management explained the planned move by saying that it wished to improve their working environment. Among the alternatives under consideration by the company are the purchase of a new office building to be constructed for it, renting a new office building or renovation and adaptation of the existing complex to the company’s needs.For this purpose, Amdocs has established a task force, which has already begun looking for locations.

“The search will be in the central and Sharon regions,” Amdocs management wrote in its letter to the employees.”The main guiding criteria are a better experience for the employees, including better transportation, suitable facilities in the area, business, cost and other operation considerations.”

Assuming that Amdocs does move its offices from the current location in Ra’anana, REIT1 will have to find a new large tenant. This large size of the areas to be vacated will make this a difficult task. Amdocs Israel has been in the hi-tech park at the Ra’anana Junction since 1996 and currently occupies 75,000 sq.m., not including parking, out  of 82,000 sq.m.  in the entire complex.

One of the other tenants in the office complex is Microsoft. According to REIT1’s  reports, Amdocs paid NIS 38.2 million in 2014 for its facilities in the Ra’anana site. REIT1 owns 60 percent of the compound, with the rest owned by S.A.N. Centers, Ganai Shefa Building & Investment and Sunflower Sustainable Investments Ltd.

Amdocs Israel is a subsidiary of the global Amdocs company and has 4,500 employees, mostly in the Ra’anana center, with the rest in other development centers in Haifa, Sderot and Nazareth.

“The search will be in the central and Sharon regions,”