December 8, 2018 / 2:04 PM / 8 days ago

Iran Supreme Leader urges currency boost: central bank

A customer buys Iranian gold coins at a currency exchange office in Tehran's business district October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has “ordered” the central bank to boost the value of rial, the bank’s governor said on Saturday, after a months-long plunge in the currency due to a faltering economy and U.S. sanctions.

The state news agency IRNA quoted governor Abdolnaser Hemmati as saying Ayatollah Khamenei “ordered the bank at a recent meeting to increasingly strengthen the national currency and called for the observance of the independence of the central bank”.

“The central bank and the banking system will use all of its managerial power and expertise to fulfil the Leader’s goals,” Hemmati said.

He did not say which policies he would follow to support the rial, which has lost about 65 percent of its value in 2018. The rial’s plunge had reached about 75 percent in the past few months, but it has recovered some of its value in recent weeks.

The currency has been volatile for months because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks and heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians to protect their savings as the United States withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear accord and piled pressure on Iran by reimposing sanctions.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Clelia Oziel

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