Iran’s currency hit a new record low on Sunday, dropping past 100,000 rials to the US dollar as Iranians brace for Tuesday next week, when Washington is due to reimpose a first lot of economic sanctions.
The US in May pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Washington decided to reimpose sanctions upon its withdrawal, accusing Tehran of posing a security threat.
It has told countries they must halt imports of Iranian oil from Nov. 4 or face US financial measures.
On Sunday, the rial plunged to 112,000 on the unofficial market, down from about 97,500 rials on Saturday, according to foreign-exchange Web site Bonbast.com.
The US dollar was exchanged between 108,500 rials and 116,000 rials, other Web sites said.
The rial has lost about half of its value since April because of a weak economy, financial difficulties at local banks and heavy demand for US dollars among Iranians who fear the effects of sanctions.
The Iranian central bank blamed “enemies” for the fall of the currency and a rapid rise in the prices of gold coins, and the judiciary said 29 people had been arrested on charges that carry the death penalty.
“The recent developments in the foreign exchange and gold markets are largely due to a conspiracy by enemies with the aim of exacerbating economic problems and causing public anxiety,” the central bank said in a statement read on state television.
Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told state television that “29 people have been arrested for economic disruption and will be soon put on trial... More may be arrested tonight and tomorrow.”
“Many of them face the charge of ‘spreading corruption on Earth,’” Ejei said, referring to a capital offense under Iran’s Islamic laws.
Besides the currency fall, the expected return of sanctions has triggered street protests, including by bazaar traders usually loyal to the Muslim rulers, and a public outcry over alleged profiteering and corruption.
On Saturday, Ejei said 18 people had been arrested over alleged profiteering from foreign-exchange dealings and the illegal importing of luxury cars.
US President Donald Trump has called the agreement one of the worst deals ever negotiated, but in a bid to salvage the accord, Iran’s European partners in the deal are preparing a package of economic measures.
However, France this month said that it was unlikely European powers could put the package together before November.
Washington is on Tuesday next week reimpose sanctions on Iran’s purchase of US dollars, its trade in gold and precious metals and its dealings with metals, coal and industrial-related software.
Sanctions also would be reapplied to US imports of Iranian carpets and foodstuffs, and on certain related financial transactions.
Iran’s oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds this year due to sanctions, straining oil markets amid supply outages elsewhere.
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be