Bank of Israel Deputy Governor Andrew Abir said on Tuesday that policymakers would continue to gradually increase short-term interest rates as long as the economy remains strong and inflation remains above the 1% to 3% target rate.

“More important is the process itself rather than how big is the first step. It’s a process–not a one-off—and we are quite clear on that,” Abir told Reuters.

The Bank of Israel’s Monetary Committee decided to increase the interest rate from 0.25 percent to 0.35 on Monday.

Most economists polled by Reuters had projected a smaller 0.15% to 0.25% increase, and the central bank’s economists predict a rate of 1.5% in a year. However, Abir said, “It’s not something we are 100% committed to.”

“We have been patient” and decided to “err on the side of caution” during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted. “So, it’s been a long time coming.”


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