Iran imposes fresh limit on cash withdrawals from banks

Press TV – The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has ordered a new limit on withdrawal of cash from banks amid toughening of rules on money laundering and also concerns about hoarding money because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

A CBI decree issued on Tuesday said banks should observe a daily limit of 150 million rials ($652) for all customers, meaning that companies and legal entities would also be covered by the new law.

The decree did not say whether businesses that have workers on their payroll would be exempt from the new cap.

The decree would be valid until late March 2021 and would nullify a previous cap imposed in early June which allowed cash withdrawals of up to 450 million rials (nearly $2,000).

The order has been issued by the CBI’s Department on Fighting Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. It is in line with a series of extensive measures implemented in recent years to clamp down on illegal practices in the Iranian banking system.

However, experts say the new cap could also serve government policies meant to contain inflation as it would prevent cash hoarding and panic buying related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Electronic transfers and e-payment systems are in wide use in Iran although banks charge small fees for certain services.

The government has implemented various measures to contain prices as the economy is under a double pressure both because of the pandemic and a series of unilateral sanctions imposed by the US.

Iran’s currency rial was again trading low against major foreign currencies on Tuesday despite a brief surge reported last week.

The rial closed 235,000 against the US dollar in unofficial market trade, down more than five percent compared to the previous day.

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