Afghanistan Remittance Payouts Limited to Local Currency – Sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s central financial institution has ordered banks to pay out remittances in native foreign money solely, the newest transfer to protect scarce U.S. {dollars}, say sources acquainted with the matter.

Laborious foreign money remittances have shaped an essential supply of exterior finance for Afghanistan over time however greenback availability has dried up within the aftermath of the Taliban’s conquest of the nation.

Western Union Co’s agent banking companions in Afghanistan acquired a directive from the nation’s central financial institution in the previous few days to pay out remittances in afghani solely, mentioned a supply near a cash alternate supplier.

Remittances despatched earlier than the directive and chosen by the sender for greenback payout can proceed to be paid in {dollars}, the supply mentioned.

 

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MoneyGram Worldwide Inc mentioned it was paying out in afghani solely, with out elaborating additional.

Each resumed money-transfer providers to Afghanistan final week, having suspended providers in August after the Islamist militia captured Kabul.

No remark was instantly out there from the central financial institution.

Beneath the management of performing central financial institution governor, Haji Mohammad Idris, a Taliban loyalist who has no formal monetary coaching, the central financial institution has been shifting to limit greenback outflows amid a pause in international support and a scramble by some Afghanis to get financial savings in a foreign country.

Additional controls are anticipated to hasten the afghani’s depreciation in opposition to the greenback, exacerbating inflation in a rustic the place greater than a 3rd of the inhabitants lives on lower than $2 a day.

“It is a matter of concern that the remaining bodily money of U.S. {dollars} goes to cut back additional,” mentioned an Afghani banker. “With the restrictions we’re predicting the greenback will attain greater than 100 afghanis to the greenback.”

The afghani was buying and selling at round 80 to the greenback simply earlier than the autumn of Kabul on Aug. 15.

Banks had been advised by the central financial institution final week to limit withdrawals by company clients to native foreign money solely, capped at round 20% of every buyer’s weekly working prices, mentioned the banker.

With round 80% of banking deposits in {dollars}, bankers say controls ought to minimise the chance of insolvency.

Since re-opening within the second half of August, banks have been working with restricted providers, together with $200 weekly limits on withdrawals and few wire transfers.

(Further reporting by James Mackenzie; Enhancing by Christina Fincher)

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