Govt. informs ministries, agencies of decision on reserves diversification

December 23, 2006 - 0:0
TEHRAN –-The bill on converting the government’s largely dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserves into the euro or other currencies was published on Thursday, the piece of legislation approved in the Economy Council’s November 2 session.

The government has required the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to take the necessary measures aimed at converting into euros or other currencies all the foreign exchanges mentioned in the former and future ratifications of Iran’s High Economic Council, the Persian service of ISNA news agency said on Friday.

All the ministries, Central Bank of Iran and the Management and Planning Organization have been officially informed of the decision on the diversification of the nation’s currency reserves, the report quoted a statement issued by the Government’s Secretariat of Information Dissemination.

The government is currently taking measures aimed at using a basket of major non-dollar currencies in its economic transactions and oil investment projects, the statement said, adding that studies conducted in this regard are indicative of other countries’ approval of the move.

The Persian Gulf Arab countries have also showed signs of their intensions on diversifying their currency reserves. The United Arab Emirates central bank decided this year to convert 10 percent of its largely dollar-denominated foreign exchange reserves into euro and gold, but Governor Sultan Nasser Al-Suweidi said the switch had not yet been carried out.

Suweidi said the central bank was still committed to diversification and that the bank's board would meet later this month to consider the timing of the switch. Other Persian Gulf Arab central banks are studying the euro's growing appeal as a reserve currency.

Markets have become particularly sensitive to any suggestion that central banks, especially those in countries with large surplus accounts, are moving some of their holdings away from dollar into euro.