On Friday, the Bank of Israel announced that its foreign currency reserves had reached a record amount of $80.59 billion through November, after breaking through the $80 billion mark in October for the very first time. In 2004, the country only was in possession of $25 billion.
As the reserves held by Israel have grown to surpass many neighbors, economists said natural gas deposit windfalls would aid Israel in fighting in a higher weight class and compete directly with the Middle East oil rich nations over the coming years.
One professor from George Washington University said that the ability of Israel to put away its spare cash for whatever emergency signifies that the economy in Israel is growing, especially in comparison to Arab neighbors.
The professor said that most people in the world do not realize or understand how great the economy in Israel has become and will expand faster as the natural gas deposits make the country a participant in the business of global energy.
Israel’s billions in its vault are favorable compared to neighbors that are more populous. The Bank of Egypt in Cairo said foreign reserves were just $18.6 billion to start November. The amount does not have any of the recent pledges from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia of $12 billion for aid following the military coup of July 3 that saw then President Mohammed Morsi ousted.
In Damascus, prior to the civil war starting three years ago, it was estimated by the International Monetary Fund that reserves in Syria were at close to $18 billion. However, in April of 2013, a report said those reserves had fallen to less than $4 billion.
At that same time, a bank governor in Syria said that Iran had granted a credit line of $1 billion to Syria and that the Syrian government was closing in a on an agreement with Iran and Russia to receive new funds prior to it running out of reserves by financing the war against the rebels.
Neighbors to Israel’s east and north Jordan and Lebanon have $12 billion and $51 billion respectively in foreign reserves.
However, in the region Saudi Arabia leads with $700 billion, Libya has $130 billion along with Turkey and Algeria has $121 billion.