Iran currency hits record low amid US uncertainty
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
The rial has lost around a quarter of its value in the past six months, hitting 50,860 against the U.S. dollar, according to Financial Informing Network, a trusted Iranian website for open market currency rates.
The gap between that and the official rate, which stood at 37,686 on March 26, has continued to widen.
Iran’s government took drastic measures last month to stem the decline in the free market rate, arresting foreign exchange dealers, freezing speculators’ accounts and raising interest rates.
But on the streets of Tehran, long queues continued to gather outside foreign exchanges in the run-up to this month’s Nevruz New Year holiday.“The issue is psychological rather than economic.
There’s no reason to buy dollars except in the hope that you can sell them later at a higher rate,” said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder of the Europe-Iran Forum, a business network.
He said Iranians were reacting to worrying news from the United States, where President Donald Trump this month appointed hardline anti-Iran figures Mike Pompeo and John Bolton to senior posts in his administration.
Many analysts believe Trump will pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran when it next comes up for renewal in May, bringing back crippling sanctions.
Local officials have complained that Iranians are hoarding billions of dollars as local banks run short of cash.