By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 November 2016:
Tripoli’s black market foreign exchange traders are crying foul as their market is still forcibly closed and official promises to sell the dollar at a new official fixed rate of LD 3.90 per dollar fails to materialize.
A Tripoli FX trader told Libya Herald that it was unjust that the authorities were blaming them for the poor state of the Libyan economy. ‘‘The closure of our market is unjustified. We are unable to work and earn a living’’, he complained, ‘‘There is no relation to the dinar exchange rate going up or down with us working. It is their (the authorities’) fault (the dinar’s fall in value) not ours’’.
He said that Rada (the Special Deterrence Force) had forced all the various shops in the gold market of the Tripoli’s Old City Souk to close since last Saturday when one dollar reached LD 7. The sudden sharp fall in the dinar was caused on the arrival of more newly printed banknotes, a trader told this publication.
The trader said that many of his colleagues had their money stuck in the market with no shop owners allowed to open up even to gain access or withdraw anything from their shops.
The dinar-dollar exchange rate had fallen to as low as LD 5.80 per dollar on rumours that an agreement had been reached by the authorities to devalue the dinar and sell it at LD 3.90 per dollar. However, days have passed with no real action and the dinar fell again to LD 7.25 per dollar. Today it was quoted at LD 6.25 per dollar.
The trader suspects that the authorities are making numerous announcements and leaking news of fixing the new official exchange rate simply to fight the FX market. There is a loss of trust and confidence in the authorities as they fail to implement their promises, the trader added.
The lack of confidence in the authorities by traders has meant most are holding on to their foreign currency and refusing to sell. This, the trader explained, is self-fulfilling in that it makes the dinar lose even more value and it indicates that they feel the dinar is going to lose more value anyway.
‘‘(Presidency Council and Government of National Accord Prime Minister-elect) Serraj should resign. He cannot handle things. We welcomed him and were happy when he arrived in Tripoli. He raised our hopes and we built a lot of hope on him. But now he should save face and resign in order that we continue to respect him’’, added the Tripolitanian FX dealer.
The FX trader who had warned months ago of the dinar falling to over LD 5 per dollar warned that if the authorities continue with their current policies ‘‘of lies’’ the dinar could fall to ‘’LD 10 per dollar or more’’.