We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sun 20 May 2007 03:15 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Kuwait drops the dollar peg

Revaluation sees a basket of currencies adopted as talks of a GCC single currency stall.

Kuwait has dropped the dinar's dollar peg in favour of a basket of other currencies, as its impatience at the depreciating greenback and the delayed introduction of the GCC single currency grows.

The US dollar exchange rate peg was adopted on 5 January 2003, in a move set to pave the way for a single GCC currency. Since the 2010 deadline for that is looking increasingly doubtful, Kuwait will keep the basket peg until a single currency is put in place.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, Sheikh Salem Abdelaziz Al-Sabah, said that the move was triggered by a spike in inflation driven by the dollar's decline against other currencies in the past two years.

"The massive decline in the dollar's exchange rate against main currencies... has contributed to the increase in local inflation rates, and this step comes within the effort made by the central banks to curb the inflation pressure in local economy," he told the state news agency KUNA.

However, the five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) look unlikely to follow Kuwait's move, according to the Secretary of GCC States Abdul-Rahman al-Attiya. "I don't expect other member states to follow Kuwait's revaluation move," he told Reuters by telephone.

Bahrain's central bank governor told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Jordan that "there is no change" to their currency policy.

Hamood Sangour Al-Zadjali, Oman's Central Bank governor, echoed this. "We are still committed to the dollar peg policy. At the Central Bank of Oman we did not know about this. There was a position by the leaders of all Gulf countries to remain pegged to the dollar and we have abided by that decision," he said.

Analysts expressed no surprise at the speed at which the decision appears to have been taken.

"The direction of change is in line with expectations. It's been clear for some time that Kuwait wants a stronger dinar and a more flexible regime," said Simon Williams of HSBC Bank Middle East.

"I'd still be surprised if we see any Gulf countries changing the value of their currencies or the nature of their currency pegs in the near term.

"However, it is bound to add to the debate that we know is taking place in a number of the Gulf central banks over how they manage the value of their currenices."

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.