Iran struggles to avert currency crisis

Published in GSN, 16 April 2018

The rial’s rapid decline in recent weeks is a matter of increasing concern to President Hassan Rouhani’s government, businesses and Iranian consumers. The rial’s open market rate (one of two exchange rates for the currency) has gone from around $1=IR37,700 in mid-2017 to rise above IR50,000 against the dollar on 6 March. Since then the decline has accelerated, reaching over IR60,000 in early April.

There have been two rates for the rial for many years: the official rate set by Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which is used for official transactions, and an open market rate set by currency traders. There has been significant disparity between the two for some time, with the average official and market rates being $1=IR29,645 and IR34,359 respectively in fiscal year 2015/16, rising to $1=IR31,457 and IR36,328 respectively in FY2016/17, according to the International Monetary Fund.

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