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Bangladesh - Bank & Finance - Diplomatic - September 6, 2023

Rampant dollar crisis

Syndicates taking advantage

Mahfuz Emran: There is an acute shortage of cash dollars everywhere. Same is the case with advance or LC dollars. Commercial banks do not accept dollars in the form of cash or drafts. Many banks can’t even provide dollars to pay off credit or debit card debt.
There is also a severe shortage of cash dollars in money changers. Dollar sales are very less in the curb market or open market. Recently, the illegal sale of dollars has been stopped after the operation of the intelligence agencies and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) due to the excessive increase in dollar prices in money changers and open markets. As a result, no one is selling dollars at the fixed rate.
In this situation, the flow of cash dollars has decreased. No one can buy dollars from money changers and curb markets. People traveling for medical, educational and business trips are the most affected due to this. Among the government officials who need foreign training, they are also in trouble.
Besides, traders are facing extreme dollar crisis in importing trade goods. Everyone was buying dollars from the open market or the black market at a higher price. But now the black marketeers have retreated due to the operation of intelligence agencies. Everyone hides dollars for fear of being caught. Some people are secretly selling dollars if they pay more. Such complaints of the victims.
On the other hand, in terms of importing capital equipment, even though the first-line investors, industrialists and entrepreneurs are not in trouble, their costs are increasing greatly. The rate at which production costs are rising due to the rising dollar has made it difficult for industries to break even, let alone profit. Among the big traders, only those who earn dollars by exporting can open LC. Commercially big businessmen also cannot open LC.
In this context, prominent economist and executive director of Policy Research Institute Ahsan H. Mansoor said that the dollar crisis is going on in the country; First it must be accepted. Then the value of the dollar should be left to the market. Then prices will rise, but the flow of dollars will continue to be normal. Now controlling the price of the dollar will not be beneficial. And it is not right to mislead the market by saying that the crisis is going away, it will become normal in the next few months.
It is known that from the middle of last month, the price of dollar suddenly increased in the carb market. Earlier, dollars were sold in the curb market at prices close to the bank. Now the gap has increased to Tk 7 to Tk 8. In some cases the gap is even greater.
From Sunday, cash dollars are being sold at Tk 111 to Tk 113 in banks. Tk 110 per dollar is being sold in draft form. The price of the dollar has been fixed at a maximum of Tk 110 for the payment of various fees of the students. Dollars should be sold at a maximum of Tk 110 in other sectors besides cash. Such instructions have been given in the circular of Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (BAFEDA) on Sunday. In that directive, the price of every dollar has been increased from 50 paisa to Tk 1 compared to August. But still the dollar is not matching in the bank.
The dollar price in the carb market rose sharply since the middle of last month. At the beginning of the month, the dollar carb, which was selling at Tk 113 to Tk 114, rose to Tk 117 to Tk 118. In some cases, there have been cases of selling dollars for a maximum of Tk 120. After this information was published in the media, intelligence agencies and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) conducted raids on money changers and Kholabazar last week. BFIU suspended licenses of 7 money changers and issued show cause notices to 10 money changers after finding serious irregularities. 8 money changer establishments were sealed for illegally keeping excessive cash dollars. This caused panic in the market.
The cash dollars that come to the country are being sold more in the open market. Because the price is high in the open market. Tk 7 to Tk 8 more per dollar than banks. In some cases even more. For these reasons, cash dollars flow into the curb market. These dollar carb market traders also sell at higher prices. Cash dollar inflows to the market have slowed since the raid. As a result, the crisis has become evident.
On Monday afternoon, a student named Russell Ahmed said that he will go to the UK for higher education. But not getting dollars anywhere. First, he contacted several money changers in Motijheel, then Gulshan, then Jatrabari. But did not get the dollar. Earlier, I contacted the bank and did not get the dollar.
It is known that a syndicate is opening LCs for importing luxury goods by buying dollars from the curb market at high prices. Due to which there is no dearth in the supply of luxury goods in the market. But the price is very high.
Meanwhile, money changers have now been restricted to a maximum of Tk 110.75 for buying and a maximum Tk 112.50 for sale. They cannot trade at a higher price than this. But cash dollars are not available at this price. As a result, the money changers are not able to sell dollars at the fixed price. The dollar crisis has also become evident in the money changers.
According to sources, earlier money changers used to sell dollars at higher prices outside the official records. Receipts are issued from money changers when customers sell dollars at a fixed price. No receipt is issued for sales above this price. As a result, every money changer operated both legally and illegally. Illegal business was more than legal business. Because those who sold cash dollars, they did so at a higher price. As a result, the money changers also charged higher prices for sale. In this, the legitimate business of money changers is almost suppressed. They operate illegal businesses under the guise of valid licenses.
Illegal business is now almost closed due to raids. As a result, people are not getting dollars. Due to this crisis banks are not able to pay dollars.
Meanwhile, in the money changers located in Motijheel, Dilkusha and Paltan areas of the capital, it can be seen that most of the offices are closed. Some offices are open but there are no people. It goes without saying that the seller does not come. When customers come, they are told that there are no dollars. There are allegations that many of the money changers traders are secretly buying and selling dollars.
According to sources, cash dollars are usually brought to the country by expatriates and travelers returning from abroad. According to the rules, the dollars that they have, should be declared to the customs at the airport on their return. If it is more than $10 thousand, it should be returned to the bank or money changers. Customers can keep $10,000 for later use. But many are keeping much more dollars after returning home. They are not even selling it in the market. They are not even using it themselves. This is increasing the cash dollar crisis. Apart from this, there have been complaints that many people are buying cash dollars with money thinking about special needs in the future.

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