According to a report in the Trinidad Express, the hoarders of US dollars in the country are demanding and “warehousing” foreign currency in overseas accounts.
The TT dollar exchange rate has risen to $6.45 for US$1 — the highest it has been since 1993 and has been selling at commercial banks between $6.42 to as much as $6.45 for several weeks. Central Bank Governor Ewart Williams said on Monday the excess demand has to be regulated, and the Bank cannot accede to increased requests.
“In the middle of November, we sold US$300 million to clear the entire backlog and within a month the same names that were cleared were back there. People do obviously not trust the system and are putting their names in a queue.” Williams said.
“If everyone simply applies for foreign exchange, simply to put it in accounts abroad, we will always have this excess demand and this is something we need to resolve.” he said.
The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) expressed concern over what they said was a “persistent” shortage of foreign currency and called on the Central Bank to provide reliable information on the country’s foreign exchange situation.
Williams said the bank would be able to meet the demand for foreign exchange that is needed for productivity, but the country could not sustain the current level of capital flight.