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Yemen: Riyal continues to depreciate in areas controlled by Saudi-backed gov’t  

April 21, 2024 at 10:45 am

Yemen’s Sana’a-based Central Bank is pictured, on April 10, 2023 [Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images]

Yemeni banking sources reported yesterday that the currency volatility continues in Aden and other areas under the control of the Saudi-backed, internationally recognised government, according to the Yemeni Press Agency. The outlet notes that this is exacerbating the country’s economic crisis and causing the Yemeni riyal to depreciate further against foreign currencies.

In Aden, which serves as the government’s interim capital along with other southern and eastern provinces of Yemen, the selling price of the US dollar reached 1,683 Yemeni riyals, with a buying rate of 1,675 riyals. Meanwhile, the buying and selling rates for the Saudi riyal fluctuated between 442 and 443 Yemeni riyals.

Conversely, in the capital Sanaa and the provinces governed by the de facto Houthi-led government under the Supreme Political Council (SPC), the currency situation appeared more stable. The exchange rate for the US dollar remained fixed at 530 Yemeni riyals, and the Saudi riyal traded between 139 and 140 riyals.

The development comes after the Sanaa authorities introduced a new 100 Yemeni riyal coin earlier this month. This move by the Sanaa-based Central Bank was criticised by the rival central bank in Aden and the government there, as a “dangerous escalation.”

The move was part of efforts to substitute banknotes of the same denomination that have been rendered damaged and unusable. At the time, Hashim Ismail, the governor of the Sanaa central bank, said the new coin “will not affect exchange rates” as it is only intended to replace damaged 100 riyal notes.

Until late 2019, both governments used the same notes when the Sanaa government banned new banknotes printed in Aden, over concerns about inflation and the printing of counterfeited notes. This led to the value of the riyal plummeting in southern governorates, while its value remained relatively stable in those under the control the SPC.

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