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Central bank scrambles to stabilize collapsing currency

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KABUL: Central Bank said on Tuesday that it is taking measures to ensure the stability of the afghani, a day after a rapid 12 percent loss of its value against the dollar amid a deepening economic crisis and soaring inflation.

The abrupt withdrawal of foreign aid following the Taliban victory in August has left Afghanistan’s fragile economy on the brink of collapse, with prices for food, fuel and other basic staples rising rapidly out of reach for many.

The central bank issued a statement saying that it had held a number of meetings with foreign exchange dealers, representatives of commercial banks and the business sector to halt the fall in the afghani.

“Based on its strategic planning policies, Da Afghanistan Bank has always tried to avoid volatility that could be harmful to the purchasing power of the people,” it said.

A meeting of the council of ministers also instructed the government’s economic commission to “take urgent steps to ensure the stability of the afghani”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

The crisis has accelerated sharply in recent days. On Monday the afghani, which traded at around 77 to the dollar before the fall of Kabul and at 97 a week ago, dropped from 112 to the dollar in the morning at Kabul’s Sarai Shahzada money market to 125 by the afternoon.

On Tuesday it had recovered slightly and was being quoted at around 114-115 following the central bank move.

“The Islamic Emirate said it would bring the dollar down and issue dollars on the market and it’s changing now,” a dealer at Sarai Shahzada said, using the name for the new Taliban government.

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