Israeli New Sheqel General Info
The addition of ‘new’ in the official name of Israel’s currency creates a distinction between the current shekel and the original (or ‘old’) shekel used between 1980 and 1985. The original shekel had been ravaged by hyperinflation and was replaced in 1986 by the ‘new’ shekel at a rate of 1000-to-1.
A single shekel is subdivided into 100 agora.
Historically, the shekel’s valuation has been at the mercy of Middle East politics. The shekel has been labelled by some a “conflict currency.”
Fortunately, hedging shekel FX risk has been made easier over the past decade by the introduction of exchange traded shekel derivatives. USD/ILS futures trade on both the ICE and CME exchanges. Exchange traded options are available with the CME. The shekel is currently one of only twenty or so currencies for which exchange traded derivatives are available.
Since 2000, the shekel’s lowest valuation against the US dollar occurred in June 2002 when the USD/ILS exchange rate reached 5.005. The currency’s post-2000 high came in July 2008, shortly before the worst stage of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when USD/ILS fell to just 3.206.
In 2016, the shekel was the twenty-ninth most traded currency in the world and since 2008 it has been fully convertible.