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Dollar tumbles in Iranian market amid panic selling over US election fate

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranians flock to currency markets as fears about a crumbling dollar deepens after US elections.

The American dollar has fallen by around a fifth against the Iranian rial as people flock to the markets to sell their currency savings amid fears that change of government in the United States elections might strengthen the rial.

A report by the IRIB News on Thursday said the dollar was trading nearly 18 percent lower compared to earlier this week to sell 240,000 against the rial.

The report said panic selling came as people feared the dollar would further plunge on the first day of the Iranian week on Saturday.

“Many people have been selling their currencies since yesterday evening due to fear about further falling of the prices,” said the report while citing prices from an official currency exchange service run by the Central Bank of Iran.

However, currency price monitoring websites and social media trends suggested that the dollar had closed at 274,000 against the rial on Thursday.

The dollar’s fall in Iran come amid growing evidence that incumbent US President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring Iran economically for the past three years, has underperformed against his rival Joe Biden in the November 3 presidential elections in the US.

Market speculators say the rial would rebound from bottom lows seen in recent months if Biden returns the US government to a 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and lifts the sanctions imposed by Trump since 2018.

That comes as the Iranian authorities have downplayed the impact of Biden’s presidency on wider Iran-US relations, saying Tehran’s stance toward the US would not depend on who occupies the White House.

The IRIB report said the dollar’s rout had also caused a fall in the price of gold in Iran despite a spike in international gold prices seen in recent days.

A benchmark gold bullion coin known as Bahar Azadi fell to 128 million rials on Thursday, down nearly 19 percent against the previous day of trade.

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