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Stanley Fischer warns global economy is bumping along

The respected economist and governor of the Israeli central bank spoke to Dominic O’Neill about the global financial crisis and the unique challenges his country faces. They talked on the sidelines of 2010 Israel Investor in London on July 1.

Stanley Fischer is one of the world’s most respected economists. In the late 1980s, he was chief economist at the World Bank; later he was thesis adviser to US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke while teaching at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was former first deputy managing director of the IMF during much of the 1990s and was a key figure in the Fund’s handling of the Asia financial crisis. Fischer also held various senior positions at Citigroup in the early 2000s.

In 2005 he emigrated to Israel to become governor of the central bank, the Bank of Israel. In March 2010 he agreed to stay on for a second term as governor.

Fischer has received praise for the relative stability of Israel’s banking system and the resilience of its economy during the global financial crisis. In August 2009 he was the first central bank governor in the world to hike rates because of indications of an upturn.

From a macro-economic perspective, the main challenge he faces is dealing with an export-dependent economy, leading to upward pressure on the shekel, which is being pushed further by recent gas discoveries. Israel’s currency reserves more than doubled over the past two years, to stand at more than $60 billion.

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