DUBAI, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Iran‘s troubled currency broke below the psychologically key level of 500,000 rial per U.S. dollar on Monday, as market participants saw no end in sight to sanctions.
The Iranian rial plummeted to a new record low of 501,300 against the U.S. dollar, according to Bonbast.com which gathers live data from Iranian exchanges.
Facing an inflation rate of about 50%, Iranians seeking safe havens for their savings have been buying dollars, other hard currencies or gold, suggesting further headwinds for the rial.
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The reimposition of U.S. sanctions in 2018 by former President Donald J. Trump have harmed Iran‘s economy by limiting Tehran’s oil exports and access to foreign currency.
Since September, nuclear talks between Iran and world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions have stalled, worsening economic expectations for Iran‘s future. Over the last six months, Iran‘s currency has slumped nearly 60% in value, according to Bonbast.com.
Meanwhile, the central bank said it was opening a new foreign exchange centre to ease access to foreign exchange and increase the volume of official transactions.
“The rate set in this exchange will become the market’s rate. It should be free from expectation factors that do not reflect our assessment of the country’s financial situation,” Mohammad Reza Farzin, the central bank governor, told state TV on Monday.
Farzin was appointed in December as governor with the key job of controlling the value of foreign currencies, according to IRNA.
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(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet and Bernadette Baum)