Tel Aviv, Jan 14: The Israeli shekel has increased to its highest rate since April 1996 against the US dollar, according to exchange rates issued by the country's central bank.

The Israeli currency's exchange rate against the US dollar was set at 3.134 shekels for $1, lowest since April 9, 1996, when a rate of 3.131 was set, reports Xinhua news agency.

This is the 17th daily decline of the dollar against the shekel in the last 20 trading days.

Since the beginning of 2021, the dollar has fallen by 2.25 per cent against the shekel, and since the beginning of 2020 has completed a fall of 9.21 per cent.

Gad Lior, senior analyst for Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper, told Xinhua that the jump in the shekel against the dollar is explained by a surplus in Israel's balance of payments, a large amount of dollars entering Israel from natural gas production, and dollar conversions by hi-tech companies to pay salaries in shekels.

"Also, the drop in the number of Israelis going abroad, due to the coronavirus pandemic, has accordingly reduced dollar purchases," he added.

"All of this causes an oversupply of billions of dollars."

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 14, 2021 11:33 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website