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Israel cenbank held rates on housing price worries -minutes

JERUSALEM, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Worries of renewed housing price increases and a belief that a weaker shekel should support exports despite a weak global economy led the Bank of Israel to keep short-term interest rates unchanged last month, minutes of the discussions showed.

The central bank left its benchmark interest rate

at 2.25 percent for a third straight month on Sept. 24 - a decision supported by all six monetary policy members.

"It was agreed that the current effective exchange rate provides a comfortable environment for continued export activity, though an additional slowdown in global activity is liable to make export development difficult," said the minutes, published on Tuesday.

Policymakers expressed concern that a decline in housing supply, combined would higher demand in home sales and in new mortgages "will lead to renewed price increases" after housing prices had been stable for the past 12 months.

At the same time, a recent spike in inflation was deemed as a one-off due to supply factors such as higher energy and other commodity prices and an increase in local taxes.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer)

((steven.scheer@thomsonreuters.com)(+972 2 632 2210)(Reuters Messaging: steven.scheer.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: ISRAEL RATES/MINUTES