(Bloomberg) -- Iran’s currency plummeted against the U.S. dollar as the country continues to grapple with the economic implications of U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus.
The rial fell to as low as 188,000 against the the dollar in the free market on Saturday, according to foreign exchange shops and websites.
The currency traded at around 150,000 when the country recorded its first case of Covid-19 in February. The rial has nosedived by more than 500% in value from 2015 when the Islamic Republic accepted curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.
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The real value of the foreign exchange is “definitely lower” than levels seen in the past few weeks and the central bank of Iran is trying to restore stability to the market, in part, by unblocking billions of dollars of frozen funds overseas, the central bank governor, Abdolnaser Hemmati, said in a note on Friday.
Iran has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of blocking the country’s request for a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to support its economy and health sector. Iran has been the Middle East’s hardest-hit nation by the pandemic with 9,500 deaths in more than 200,000 positive cases so far.
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