· In the first quarter of 2016, Israel’s surplus of assets over liabilities vis-à-vis abroad increased by about $10.7 billion (about 15.7 percent), further to an increase of about $3.8 billion (5.9 percent) in 2015. Most of the increase in the surplus during the first quarter of 2016 is a result of an increase in the net effect of prices on the surplus of assets, while transactions on the assets and liabilities sides offset each other.
· The increase in the value of the asset portfolio in the first quarter derived mainly from an increase in the value of foreign exchange reserve assets ($4.2 billion, 4.6 percent), and from the flow of direct investments abroad by Israelis ($1.7 billion, 1.9 percent).
· The decline in the gross balance of liabilities to abroad in the first quarter derived mainly from a marked decline in the prices of Israeli shares held by nonresidents ($10.5 billion, 10.2 percent), which was partly offset by flows of direct investment and of financial investments in the economy by nonresidents ($5 billion, 2.1 percent).
· In the first quarter of 2016, the gross external debt to GDP ratio declined by 0.5 percentage points, to 29.9 percent at the end of March, further to a decline of 0.8 percentage points in the previous quarter. The decline in the gross external debt to GDP ratio derived from an increase in GDP in parallel with a decline in the shekel value of gross external debt as a result of the appreciation of the shekel during the period.
· The surplus of assets over liabilities vis-à-vis abroad in debt instruments alone (negative net external debt) increased in the first quarter of 2016 by about $1 billion (1 percent), to about $119 billion at the end of the quarter.
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