The shekel opened today's currency trading strengthening, reflecting yesterday's trend in options trading. With the start of trade, the dollar lost ground locally to trade at NIS 4.8960, but as TheMarker reported estimates that S&P is considering lowering Israel's sovereign credit rating to BBB, the shekel began to lose some of that early strength.

The representative exchange rate was set at NIS 4.9190, down 0.25% from Friday¿s official daily rate of NIS 4.9320. According to dealers, trade was calm and volume was not high. Dealing rooms estimate that end of month currency conversions will moderate any shekel devaluation trend. Foreign entities made dollar acquisitions this morning although not in a wide scope.

The foreign currency market is waiting for the publication of the April consumer price index on Wednesday, with projections ranging from 0.5% to 1.2% as a result of the shekel devaluation. The capital market assumes that Bank of Israel governor David Kleinwill raise interest rates at the end of the month, particularly against the backdrop of continued depreciation in the local currency and inflation expectations which exceed the government target.