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Iran enjoying easier access to forex resources: Chief banker

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Ali Salehabadi speaking to reporters in Tehran on December 6, 2021.

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Ali Salehabadi says the bank and the government have been enjoying a better access to foreign currency resources in recent months despite continued American pressure on the country’s economic system.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Monday, Salehabadi said that the CBI and the government had earmarked or enabled access to some $36 billion for the purpose of imports into Iran since the start of the calendar year in March.

He said the figure was equal to the funds allocated to imports over the entire year to late March.

 “We are in a very good condition with regards to the flow of foreign currency into the country and my forecast is that the situation will take a turn for the better in the near future,” said the chief banker.

Elaborating on a breakdown of the figure, Salehabadi said that the CBI had directly allocated some $11 billion to finance imports of basic goods and medicine into Iran since March on top of nearly $1.5 billion it had earmarked for imports of coronavirus vaccines.

The remaining $23.5 billion dedicated to imports this calendar year had been mostly funded through using the proceeds of non-oil exports from Iran, he said.

Current CBI rules require exporters, including those selling petrochemicals to foreign customers, to bring back their proceeds to an integrated forex trading system known as NIMA.

The system imposes a price cap on forex trade to make it possible for importers to obtain foreign currency at prices lower than the unofficial market.

Salehabadi said the amount of forex introduced to NIMA since March had increased by 45% compared to March-November 2020 to a total of $22.4 billion.

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