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EghtesadOnline: Foreign currency and gold coin prices increased in Tehran on Wednesday ostensibly influenced by the upcoming meeting of Financial Action Task Force on Feb 21.

Moneychangers in Tehran sold the dollar for 139,500 rials, 1,500 rials higher than the close of the previous session. Euro was priced 151,080 rials -- slightly lower than Monday's close, Financial Tribune reported.

The UAE dirham, a highly influential factor in currency rates in Tehran, soared to 38,000 rials, according to local media. 

Often impacted by forex rates, gold prices climbed again on Wednesday. The Emami gold coin gained 0.61%, or 300,000 rials, to reach 51.19 million rials, and Bahar Azadi gold coin gained 150,000 rials and was offered at 50.850 million rials. 

This is while the precious metal fell in global markets. According to Reuters, gold prices edged lower on Wednesday as new coronavirus cases fell and risk appetite improved, although uncertainty over the economic impact of the outbreak still underpinned the bullion. 

Spot gold edged 0.2% lower to $1,564.15 per ounce for the day. US gold futures were also down 0.2% at $1,567.50.

New bouts of volatility in local markets have been partly attributed to speculations on social media about the FATF’s expected decision. Rumors have it that the Paris-based body is expected to put Iran on its blacklist. Economic experts opine that such rumors and reports tend to drag more investors to the gold and currency markets to save the value of their assets. 

FATF for years has demanded that Iran adopt anti-money laundering and anti-corruption transparency laws, and reform its dysfunctional banking system to be able to fully access the international banking system. 

Iran is currently on FATF's watch list and has been given a last and final deadline to comply or face the consequences. 

FATF has linked taking Iran out of its blacklist on the ratification of four bills. In August 2018, Iran enacted amendments to its Counter-Terrorist Financing Act and in January 2019 amended its Anti-Money Laundering Act.


Action Plan 

The amendments were among pillars of Iran’s Action Plan, followed by amendments to the AML law and accession to Palermo and CFT conventions.

Parliament sent the bills to the Expediency Council for arbitration, but the powerful council has not issued a final verdict so far.

The FATF Working Group and Plenary meetings will be held at the OECD Conference Centre on Feb 16-21.

The Central Bank of Iran, however, blames rent-seekers and avaricious middlemen for spreading false stories about the impact of the FATF's decision on the markets. 

In an Instagram post earlier this week, CBI Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said reports about FATF's upcoming meeting are incorrect and the CBI will continue to strongly implement anti-money laundering measures. 

He urged the people to exercise caution and not be misled by fake news. 

Given the regulator’ response to currency market fluctuations in recent weeks, observers and experts say the greenback will see no significant change in the coming days. 

In a report on Wednesday, the Persian-language economic newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, Financial Tribune's sister publication, referred to the lower purchasing price of foreign currencies at CBI-affiliated moneychangers compared to prices quoted by currency dealers and other exchange shops, saying it indicates the CBI's reluctance to buy foreign currency. 

“This usually happens when the CBI expects no considerable increase in forex rates,” it said.

The newspaper added that bank-affiliated exchange shops were selling the dollar at 137,000 rials on Wednesday and buying at 133,000 rials. 


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