Good News, Israel

Compliments of Anglo Saxon Raannana Real Estate

Quote for the Week

    You can´t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

(A Yiddish proverb. Accepting the accuracy of this truism prevents a great deal of frustration. It comes highly recommended)

* September is not generally a good month for share markets, especially in Israel where there are very few trading days over the High Holy Festivals. So what happened down at Achad Ha’am St over the past weeks? Well the TASE moved forward in top gear with all the indexes rising in the vicinity of 8%. In fact the market enjoyed its best month so far this year. No wonder then that:

* Barclays Capital has upped its 2010 growth forecast from 3.3% to 3.7% – the Bank of Israel, generally more conservative about these things than most, is predicting 4% for 2010 – and its [Barclays that is] 2011 growth forecast is up from 3.5% to 4%. These financial wunderkinder had the following to say and we quote; “We are becoming more confident about the durability of Israel growth.” And why is that we ask? Well all the indicators are there, higher-than-expected second quarter real GDP, decelerating inflation, falling unemployment figures and economic fundamentals looking better by the day. How do we do it?

* Israel is certainly not short of winners and never has been and here are a few examples of Israelis gaining top international honors this past week: Two teenagers are among the winners of an EU competition for young scientists held in Lisbon. Eighteen-year-old Natty Aspis won 2,500 euro for his research on the effect of the protein Galactin-8 on the bone resorption process [Resorption? It goes on 24/7 in the body, bone is broken down, recycled, and rebuilt] while Pavel Fedayev from Arad also won a free trip to Chile for his research on the genesis of stars. Moving up the ladder a little, age-wise anyway; Prof. Albert Gabizon was awarded the Alec Bangham Lifetime Achievement Award for his liposome research. Prof. Gabison is the second Israeli scientist to win this top honor. Meanwhile Prof. Leah Baider received the premier prize granted by the International Psycho-Oncology Society for her work on the psychological affects of cancer.

* And while we’re talking winners it would be stating the obvious to say that Governor of the Bank of Israel, Prof. Stanley Fischer is right up there with the best of them. So we’ll do just that and inform you that he has been named, not for the first time either, as one of the world’s top seven central bank chiefs in “Global Finance” magazine’s annual Central Banker Report Card. Fischer was given an “A” on a scale of “A” to “F” [Mr Bernanke of the US only cracked a ‘C’] for success in areas such as inflation control, economic growth goals, currency stability and interest rate management. ‘Global Finance’ may say he’s one of seven, we say he’s unique.

* Not the best known of facts but Israel was once home to large forests of the mighty oak and a few individuals still survive but all that is set to change, as a group of like-minded nature lovers plan for the planting of these beautiful trees in the 750-acre Sharon Park. These nature lovers are collecting acorns – you have to start somewhere – and are restricting themselves to the local variety – no imports – and we say good for them. There is a special beauty to planting a tree and if it is a local oak, so much the better.

* Now into the big money. And if you’re talking big money then Teva Pharmaceuticals has to be included in your thinking, well Teva-Kowa Pharma actually, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Teva and Japan’s Kowa and they expect to book around $270 million in sales in this, their first year of operation in Japan and that’s not all, the company intends totting up $1.1 billion in revenues by 2015. Worth noting is that Teva is one of the first global drug makers making a foray into the Japanese generic drug market. Why are we not surprised?!

* There’s more. Brazil signed a deal worth US$730 million with Pfizer and Israel’s Protalix for a drug developed by the latter, for treating Gaucher’s disease. The country’s Health Minister said the new deal was a transfer of technology entitling Brazil to produce the drug for a period of five years. Now we don’t know how the parties involved are going to divvy up the cash but $730 million is a lot of money so we can assume that nobody is going to be left wanting.

* Still more. Mobile integration solutions developer MobileMax Technologies Ltd. today reported that it has won a NIS 750 million order, yes NIS 750m, from a telecom operator in an Arab country, yes an Arab country; we’ve checked both of those items. The Company will provide solutions that will enable cellular phones to use a VoIP [that stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol] infrastructure. Now we don’t quite understand the technical ins and outs of all this – and that must rate as one of the understatements of the year – but what we do know is it will increase efficiency and reduce costs, especially for international calls and that’s what counts.

* We’ve said it before and we’ll repeat it without so much as blushing. In the rough and tumble of relationships in our neck of the woods we sometimes get the impression that our nearest neighbors spend their entire day plotting our demise without so much as a half hour break for lunch. Nothing could be further from the truth. A few examples: Collaboration on nature conservation; patronizing and working in, our up market shopping malls; a wide range of sports including the newly established Kraft American football league boasting Israeli and Palestinian players; the medical field and of course business and trade [see the item above]. And last but by no means least and we kid you not, the belly dancer of the moment at up scale affairs in Bethlehem is a Jewish lady from Ashdod who charges and gets NIS1600 for a fifteen minute dance routine. So there you have it folks, it’s just that we do things a little differently here.

* We have noticed that when our gas and oil reserves are discussed by the cognoscenti the following words and phrases keep cropping up; perhaps, maybe, possibly [not a probably in sight], might well be that, potentially, if…then; and most beloved of all, perhaps it might well be that potentially if…then it maybe reasonable to assume. Is this a sign of a degree of uncertainty or is it the normal caution displayed by experts? Whichever, the following report appeared in the financial newspaper of record this week and we summarize: Our off shore gas fields, quote ‘may contain a potential 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas or more than twice the UK’s gas reserves’ unquote and that, quote ‘could benefit our current account by US$4bn a year’ unquote. Now that’s [potential] GN.

* This item really appealed to us. A large Israeli bus company has started teaching its drivers sign language to improve the service provided to our hearing challenged citizens. The vocabulary will be limited and the drivers, there’ll be thirty of them to start with, will wear a special pin to indicate that they are proficient; their buses too will display appropriate signs. A great gesture and a touching display of understanding. GN indeed.

October 3, 2010 | Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply