The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has announced a plan to issue foreign currency-denominated bonds for the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic, Islamic Republic News Agency reported on February 7.
CBI governor Valiollah Seif reportedly said the national lender hopes to tap into the market for forex trading, something which has become a popular pastime in Tehran in recent months with the Iranian rial having plunged against the dollar and other hard currencies.
The CBI is yet to announce how many bonds will be initially offered to the general public, but further details are expected within coming weeks. The central bank aims to launch the forex bonds before the start of the Persian New Year (March 21). Traditionally in the period leading up to the new year, Iranians stock up on forex in line with festive travel plans and with an eye to hoarding hard currency in anticipation of future needs and gains.
“Currently, there are a variety of choices for investors, including the monetary market, the stock market, the bond market and the housing sector,” Seif said, noting that the forex bonds should ease currency reserve stresses by redirecting people away from unwise investments to bona fide funds that can deliver handsome returns.
The unofficial rial rate rose to IRR46,600 to the dollar by the end of trading on on February 6, according to Iranian forex traders. The move upwards from the all-time low of above IRR47,000 recorded on the previous day occurred after the CBI announced it had started injecting additional foreign currency into the market.
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