It has been a negative start to the second quarter of 2018 for the Iranian Rial. While international market headlines are dominated by trade tensions between the U.S. and China, not to mention the Russian Ruble’s decline of over 3% on Monday 9 April following a new round of US economic sanctions, it is the Iranian Rial that has been swept under the radar.
The Rial weakened to a new historic low over the past weekend, with some outlets reporting that the currency dropped between 6-9% on Sunday April 10. Although there is some debate over what exactly is encouraging the currency weakness, there is no disputing that the Rial has suffered over the past few months. The Rial has nosedived; it was valued at 36,000 in September and then 47,000 at the beginning of February, before its most recent record low last weekend.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact catalyst behind the Rial woes, it is quite possibly linked to underlying concerns that Iran will be the next target of President Trump after he completes his current rhetoric on Chinese trade. President Trump has previously been explicit with his warning to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal and, with the Iranian nuclear deal up for renewal in May, there are concerns that President Trump will ramp up his negativity towards Iran. This was one of the many promises he made when winning the U.S. election and, while a lot of his efforts have so far been spent on North Korea and more recently China, Trump might direct his attention to Iran before the U.S. mid-term election in November.
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