The Bank of Israel is in “good condition” and the country has financial stability, outgoing bank chief Stanley Fischer said on Wednesday, at a press conference officially announcing his resignation.
Fischer surprised the country on Tuesday when news broke that he would leave his post in June, after eight years on the job and a full two years before his second term was to end. Fischer is largely credited with keeping Israel financially sound during the global financial downturn.
On Wednesday, he said that he was leaving the Bank of Israel in “good condition” and that due to organizational and management changes he implemented, the institution was “very strong,” especially with regards to the decision-making process and in relations with other government bodies.
Israel has “financial stability,” the governor said, but “serious challenges” await, especially in reducing government bureaucracy in order to make Israel a better place to do business and attract investment.
He said that the deficit must be “limited to a reasonable level” and that the state budget must “serve as the base for macro-economic market stability.”
Recently published figures showed the budget deficit at twice the amount analysts had estimated it would be. Fischer has warned recently of a local economic downturn amid expected government budget cuts.
Fischer said that it was an honor to have served at his post and to work with the various Israeli institutions and government figures during his tenure. He cited “personal reasons” for his departure.
Fischer, 69, served as the chief economist at the World Bank in the late 1980s and as first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund from 1994 to 2001. He accepted the post of Bank of Israel Governor in 2005 and moved from the US to Israel.
Asher Zeigler contributed to this report.