Senior finance officials and heads of the financial system held a discussion in Tel Aviv about the consequences of the Corona virus and its preparation in Israel. Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Anat Guetta, Governor of the Bank of Israel, Amir Yaron, Director of the Tax Authority, Eran Ya'akov, and senior Treasury officials, among whom were the heads of its branches for a long time.
In the Chief Economist Division, two scenarios for damaging economic activity were examined in light of economic activity vis-à-vis China. This is without regard to the spread of the disease in Israel. Chief economist Shira Greenberg explained that the scenarios indicate a possible 0.2% impact on the gross domestic product, which is about $ 700 million in a moderate scenario, and a more than a percentage of GDP, which is about $ 3.5 billion in the longer scenario.
The Ministry of Health has so far spent about NIS 100 million on preparations to deal with the virus. About NIS 5 million came from the isolation and flight of hundreds of South Korean tourists who were suspected of carrying the Corona virus.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon asked his office's chief executive, Shai Babad, to set up an internal office to monitor developments in the matter. Kahlon said in the discussion that at this stage there is no significant and immediate danger to the Israeli economy. Governor of the Bank of Israel Amir Yaron said that "a dedicated team has been established at the Bank of Israel that regularly analyzes developments from several different angles: the global markets and the local market, the real impact on the economy, and the impact on the financial system, especially the exposure of the financial institutions and the banking system."
The outbreak of the Corona virus in China shows uncertainty about the future economic activity in Israel and the world, and the effects on inflation and financial markets. In case the spread of the virus is halted in the coming months - similar to the baseline scenario that guides the estimates of most international economic institutions - the overall impact on the global economy is expected to be limited, and compensation is expected to grow in the next few quarters. In the Bank of Israel's estimation, this scenario is not expected to have a significant macroeconomic impact in Israel, beyond the individual impact on various companies, even though China is a significant trading partner in a variety of industries.
To the extent that the crisis will trickle down to other countries, and particularly if severe preventive measures are required in Israel, a more significant impact is expected. The emphasis at the moment is that this is a rolling event, so the conclusions so far need to be treated more cautiously.
Chief economist Shira Greenberg further added that "Corona expansion is significant compared to SARS (2003), when the impact on world GDP was 0.1%. Asia (China, South Korea). However, over 200 people have been infected in Italy so far and parts of the country have been closed. "
Greenberg also noted that "official statistics have so far not shown any harm to economic activity in Israel, but some of the larger companies have pointed to potential injury channels - and some have even reported an existing injury. The combination of the extent of the spread of the Corona virus to the depth of economic relations between new world countries reflects .
Treasury Commissioner Shaul Meridor said: "At the moment we do not see a macroeconomic impact. It is still too early to fully assess the impact of the virus on the economy and the budget, but we are working closely with the Ministry of Health to provide a budgetary response to national accountability." Accountant General Roni Hezekiah added: "We are at an early stage of the event and its impact is currently marginal. We hope things will continue this way."
Wage superintendent Kobe Bar Nathan addressed the discussion about workers being forced to stay in quarantine, saying he would instruct government ministries and public sector employers to allow those workers to stay on sick leave for two weeks at their home, as directed by the Ministry of Health.
Jacob said that "the tax authority will act with the necessary sensitivity towards businesses that will face difficulties, with emphasis on small businesses, while providing individual response, within the existing procedures, with regard to the rejection or deployment of payments and reporting."
The election committee held a new kind of polling station this week, when on March 2, quite a few Israelis may vote in tents rather than schools. About 20 tents have already been invited by the committee as part of a plan to set up two tents, one in which polling stations will be placed and one in which members of the election committee will sit.
The committee is expected to be staffed by brothers and pharmacists, as it is difficult to recruit ordinary citizens to the polling stations in question. The recruitment task will not be simple as there are also difficulties in recruiting secretaries for polling stations throughout Israel for the third election year.