EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of Iran will launch an electronic trade platform to register retail demand for foreign currency, the governor Ali Salehabadi said.
Salehabadi was speaking during a rare tour of the iconic Ferdowsi Square in central Tehran, the main hub for currency trade.
“The platform is designed to meet the small needs of the people for foreign currency,” he was quoted as saying by the CBI website.
He said the new platform will start operating by February. “People can register the amount of currency they need at the platform and after that approach authorized exchange shops to receive the currency”.
Details were not available.
For years demand for forex has outstripped supply in Iran as people seek to turn their lives savings into safe havens due to the de facto depreciation of the rial and the steep decline in its purchasing power.
The latest CBI measure is to avoid overcrowding in front of exchange shops, Salehabadi said, expressing the hope that the new system could facilitate easier access to forex and help improve transparency in currency trade.
The platform will be operated by the regulated foreign exchange market, known as Iran Currency Exchange (ICE). This is a spot market dealing in cash wholesale currency where trade is conducted by authorized moneychangers and designated banks that operate as brokerages.
The market is seen as a government measure to restore some form of discipline to the chaotic currency market. It was created to provide a transparent venue where currency is traded electronically.
“The market is capable of meeting the currency needs of buyers. We are trying to find ways to ease the people’s access to foreign currency.”
On average forex supply via the regulated market is between $10-15 million and €2 million per day.
Rial Loses More Ground
Salehabadi made the tour amid steep volatility in the currency market in recent days apparently driven by political developments.
Prices continued to rise in the Tehran’s open market on Tuesday, despite the CBI’s painstaking efforts to assure that there is adequate supply of currency.
The dollar gained 0.5% or 1,500 rials to reach 306,500 rials. It has jumped more than 3% since Saturday. The American currency was worth 275,630 rials in the regulated market, almost unchanged compared to Monday.
The euro was up 0.17% and was quoted at 345,300 rials, the UK pound climbed 0.3% to 406,410 rials while the UAE dirham was worth 84,100 rials up 0.11% on the session before.
In the domestic bullion market, where prices are strongly tied to currency rates, the popular Emami gold coin gained 0.3% to buy 132.65 million rials.
Half Bahar Azadi coin climbed 0.7% to 69.5 million rials and 18-karat gold dipped 0.2% to be worth 13.18 million rials per gram.
Gold traded in a tight range on Tuesday in international markets as the focus turned to US consumer prices data later this week that may influence the fed’s interest-rate hike timeline, with investors seeming to shrug off concerns over the Omicron variant, Reuters reported.
Spot gold was up 0.2% to $1,782.30 per ounce stuck in a narrow range and US gold futures were up 0.2% to $1,784.60.