Bank of Israel lowers key rate 25 bps, second cut this month

JERUSALEM Mon May 27, 2013 10:31am EDT

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JERUSALEM May 27 (Reuters) - The Bank of Israel cut its benchmark interest rate on Monday for the second time this month as it continues to fight a strong shekel and slowing economic growth.

In its first regularly scheduled meeting in more than two months, the central bank lowered its key rate by a quarter-point to 1.5 percent. Six of the 13 economists polled by Reuters expected a rate cut while seven forecast no move.

The Bank of Israel on May 13 reduced its key rate by a quarter-point in a bid to weaken the shekel, which had appreciated sharply in recent months and threatened to further harm exports. At the same time, it said it would buy $2.1 billion of foreign currency.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer)

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