Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dollar to Shekel

Every day, I open my computer, and out pops a little yellow box, courtesy of my Windows Vista system. It says plainly, the US dollar rate versus the Israel New Shekel rate. And it changes, via the system, during the entire day.
Why is this little box such a feature of curiousity?

Well, back in the day, the dollar used to be at 4.5. That means that for every dollar changed, one received 4 and a 1/2 shekels in return. Not so complicated- right?

Then the dollar dropped- making it 4 shekels. Then 3.8. Then 3.5. And in recent months- we've seen a 3.2. (I could be wrong- one day, I suspect, it was 2.98.)

The dollar seems to be making a comeback. The Bank of Israel bought dollars, when the rate was 3.2, causing the dollar to go up to 3.6. And in recent weeks, it has gone from 3.7 to 4.001. Yep, it's back above 4 again, although not by much.

According to my little box- at this exact second the dollar is 4.018.

Of course- this is all what is known as the "Shaar HaYatzig"- the middle rate. Not the selling rate or the buying rate. What you can actually change your dollars for shekels for is usually about 3-4 points lower. So if it is 4.018- you could probably change for 3.97 or so.

I heard recent news, according to that the Bank of Israel would like the dollar to go up to 4.5. Although, this may take months to happen. Or, it may never happen at all.
This little box makes a difference in my day. I check it hurriedly each morning- is today a good day to change money? Or not?
Can I get a fair rate? Will the 1.5 percent charged for a check changing make a difference? Should I wait till tomorrow?

As a financial analyst told me- he would have to be a Navi to know how the exchange rate will go. Maybe yes, possibly not, is his response for the rate going up/down in a given time period.

How much does this make a difference? Well, let's see. If I had a 100 dollars- if the rate was 4- I would receive 400 shekel, and so on. So, for every .01 difference- I lose 1 shekel.
That doesn't seem like much when you're dealing with 100 dollars. But what about my paycheck? Then it makes a bigger difference.

I've become accustomed to thinking in exchange rates. And don't get me started on the Euro.


Ezzie said...

When I was in Israel it hit 4.98, I believe. (That's one reason a bus pass jumped from 4.20 to 4.90 back then.)

It might be worth having an American and an Israeli bank account, and transferring money either way when the rate is favorable.

nmf #7 said...

Ezzie- Wow. 4.98. I can't even envision it now.
And that's exactly how I do it- through the bank via my accounts. Of course, there is no such thing as a standing order here in Israel- every transaction has to be dealt with personally during bank hours.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

When I first came to Israel to learn in was 1,500 Shekel to the dollar!

I changed 10 dollars at the airport and got a whoppping 15,000 Shekel!

My newfound fortune started to disappear after I purchased a can of coke and KifKef, which took 2,700 out of my total.

For now, I avoid bothering with the exchange rate. I live here, and think in Shekels (new shekels...not like those old ones from days of yore)

Shabbat Shalom!

nmf #7 said...

Jameel- wow! Did you save any of the old Shekel bills for posterity?

I wish I could live without thinking of the exchange rate- but I get paid in dollars so...

en said...

What app do you use?

nmf #7 said...

En: I have Windows Vista- so I'm using the provided currency gadget. If you do a search for widgets, I'm sure you can find several. I remember vaguely that Google had an excellent widget that did the same thing.

en said...

Thanks! Love your blog!

nmf #7 said...

En- thanks!
By the way, for all those interested the rate is at 4.052 today- hurray! It's been above 4 for 2 weeks now!