Israel central bank reduces key rate

From Bloomberg News

The Bank of Israel lowered its benchmark lending rate by half a percentage point for January, the third reduction in three months and a bigger cut than economists had expected.

The rate the central bank charges commercial lenders will be cut to 4.5% as of Thursday, a bank spokeswoman said from Jerusalem. Economists had forecast a quarter-point reduction.

The consumer price index has fallen in each of the last three months, leaving the CPI down 0.3% in the year through November, as the shekel strengthened against the dollar.