by Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA
It would behoove those who still cling to a misguided faith in fiat currencies to pay close attention to what is happening in Iran. The rial swooned in a free fall as much as 18% on Monday to a record low against the US dollar. The collapse was so steep that Iranian currency websites blanked out the rate. The currency has reportedly lost 80% of its value since the end of 2011. It is literally getting to a point that it will not be worth the paper on which it is printed.
The economic sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program are hitting Iran where it hurts. Inflation is raging at an annual rate of 24 per cent, Iran has been all but frozen out of the global banking system, and its oil exports have been slashed. Britain, France and Germany are pushing for EU sanctions on Iran to be tightened further later this month, to close some of the larger loopholes. Iran’s weak currency makes imports to the country more expensive and although a weak currency can theoretically make exports more attractive, Iran is in a bind since most countries don’t want to trade with it.