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Bank of Israel on delta strain risks, economic recovery in 2022

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The outbreak of the delta variant in Israel is a risk to the economy, but the country’s central bank governor is expecting recovery to continue for now.

Amir Yaron of the Bank of Israel said the authorities are monitoring whether new cases of the delta strain, first detected in India, have translated into serious illness and hospitalizations.

“Hopefully that’s not the case, in which case our baseline approach is that we will still see ourselves exiting nicely,” he said referring to country coming out of the economic crisis.

“In 2021 and by the end of 2022, we will basically be very close to where we were supposed to be prior to the pandemic,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Monday.

The interest rate being where it is and being accommodative, is to allow the economy to continue to exit out of the pandemic in this particular fast way.

Amir Yaron

Bank of Israel governor

Delta risk

Israel reported 496 Covid cases on July 5, an 88.1% increase from a week ago, according to Our World in Data.

After a speedy vaccine rollout, the country initially lifted restrictions and raced toward a post-pandemic return to normalcy. But authorities have since reintroduced some coronavirus measures after the delta variant began to spread in the community.

Israel has fully vaccinated 59.8% of its population, while 65.2% have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, according to Our World in Data.

Ultimately, the biggest factor is whether you put pressure on hospital and medical support in a way that cannot handle the numbers. Right now, it does not look that way.

Amir Yaron

Bank of Israel governor

Israel national budget

Yaron told CNBC that Israel needs to pass its national budget and the country has to invest for the future.

“We definitely need that state budget in place,” he said. “That is the working plan for the economy for the long haul … we need to do what many other countries have to do, which is invest in infrastructure, invest in education as the economies progress, especially the high-tech (sectors).”

The country will also need to invest in human capital, he added.

Israelis wear protective face masks at a shopping mall in Jerusalem on June 25, 2021.

EMMANUEL Dunand | AFP | Getty Images

Israel is aiming to approve its first national budget since March 2018 in November this year, after a new coalition government was approved by the Parliament last month.

The central bank governor said Israel has to advance its economy in the next decade in order to grow and make the right investments.

“The challenge will be to put them in, in a very responsible fiscal way, such that … debt-to-GDP is still stable over the next coming years,” he said.

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