Dollar breaks Tk 100, but still ‘hard to find’

Many people who visited banks and exchange offices in Dhaka for the dollar on Tuesday could not find one as its price on the open market rose by at least Tk 5 to Tk 102, the highest rate in the history of Bangladesh, according to traders from Gulshan, Gulistan, Paltan and Motijheel. Even the banks sold the dollar at 97 Tk.

Md Aminuddin, a trade representative of Western Money Exchange in Paltan, said he sold the dollar at 98 Tk in the morning and bought the currency again at 101 Tk in the afternoon to sell it at 102 Tk later.

“As some other companies ran out of dollars after a while, we stopped trading because buying at a high rate can lead to losses. Today the market was hard to grasp as it was on a rollercoaster ride.

Jashim Uddin, who trades in dollars on the streets outside banks in Motijheel, said he has never turned away a customer without providing as many dollars as he wanted. “Now I first ask how much they need because the rate is high due to a shortage. I sold at 100 Tk until 3pm and ran out.

A man who demanded $2,000 from a bank said the bank could not provide him with the dollars. “The price is much higher on the open market. So I’ll be back [Wednesday]”said the man, on condition of anonymity.

The drop in COVID-19 cases has been accompanied by a global rise in commodity prices, as the Russian-Ukrainian war has led to higher supply and delivery costs. As a result, the demand for dollars increased and the Bangladeshi taka, like many other currencies around the world, began to lose value.

In the free market, expatriate workers and tourists are the main sources of dollars. They sell the dollar they have on them to exchange offices, which in turn resell the money to foreign travelers who need it.

Today, currency exchanges no longer obtain much foreign currency from expatriates and tourists, while the number of people going abroad for travel, shopping, education, medical treatment and other causes increased.

“More people are coming to buy dollars now. We had seen strangers earlier, but they disappeared. Also, it is possible to make purchases with cards, so the use of dollar bills is down,” said Golam Faruk, an employee of Margina Money Exchange in Gulshan.

The US dollar exchange rate for interbank transactions was revised down by 0.80 Tk to 87.5 Tk on Tuesday, but several banks raised dollar prices to around 92-94 Tk amid increased demand .

On Tuesday, Eastern Bank Limited sold the dollar at 96 Tk, down from 92.5 Tk on Monday. Social Islami Bank raised the price of the dollar by 3.5 Tk to 99 Tk in one day.

In the global market, the dollar eased for a third straight day on Tuesday, coming back from a two-decade high against a basket of major peers, as an increase in investors’ appetite for riskier bets diminished the attractiveness of the US currency as a safe haven, Reuters reported.

The US Dollar Currency Index=USD, which tracks the greenback against six major currencies, fell 0.7% to 103.39, its lowest since May 6. The index hit a two-decade high last week, buoyed by a hawkish Federal Reserve and global economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The dollar remained subdued after data showed U.S. retail sales rose sharply in April as consumers bought motor vehicles amid improving supply and patronized restaurants, not showing no sign of slowing demand despite high inflation.

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