JERUSALEM, Dec 3 (Reuters) - JP Morgan has agreed to become a primary dealer in Israel's bond market, the country's Finance Ministry said on Tuesday.
JP Morgan joins 12 local and foreign banks, including Citi, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch International, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Capital, and BNP Paribas as primary dealers who have a mandate to participate in the government bond auctions and carry out trade in the secondary market to provide liquidity.
"Offering our clients access to government bonds in Israel is an important next step for our franchise," said Gilad Pais, managing director and head of Israel markets coverage at JP Morgan, adding the bank has a long history in Israel.
"Becoming a primary dealer will enhance our Israeli offering and capital markets leadership."
Rony Hizkiyahu, Israel's accountant general, said the move attests to Israel's economic strength, its strong credit rating and investment opportunities.
"The bank joining as a primary dealer in government bonds is expected to strengthen this market and contribute more liquidity for bonds," he said.
Israel's government bonds will be included in the World Government Bond Index (WGBI) starting in April 2020 and are expected to comprise about 0.3% of the index. (Reporting by Steven Scheer, Editing by William Maclean)