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Afghani falls to record low amid pressing currency shortage

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Economists are warning of an acute currency shortage in Afghanistan and the subsequent economic predicament as the Afghani has plummeted to its record low in trading.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) issued a report earlier this week urging prompt actions to prevent the Afghan banking system from collapsing, which is now “in disarray” featuring inadequate liquidity and decreased deposits.

The largest currency exchange market in Kabul now has been crowded with people and the Afghani has dropped to its all-time low.

Before the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA)’s takeover of Kabul in mid-August, one U.S. dollar was equal to about 70 Afghanis. But now the exchange rate hovers around 90 Afghanis to the dollar. The continued depreciation of the Afghan currency sparked fears among residents, with many flocking to the exchange market.

“Unfortunately in these two weeks the Afghan currency has been dropping down against foreign currencies with one dollar costing 95.5 Afghanis last week. Then the Afghanistan Bank released a statement that they will put 10 million U.S. dollars into the market, more than the 2.5 million dollars they actually took out. However, the price [of the U.S. dollar] didn’t go down but unfortunately have increased day by day,” said Zirak, spokesman from the all money dealers of Afghanistan.

Zirak said the country’s currency shortage was fueled by the combination of its assets frozen by the United States, the increasing domestic demand for U.S. dollars, as well as banks’ restrictions on dollar withdrawal.

The UNDP report noticed that non-performing loans in Afghanistan had increased from around 30 percent at the end of 2020 to 57 percent in September this year.

With the current trend and withdrawal restrictions, approximately 40 percent of the country’s deposit base will be lost by the end of 2021, said the report.

The currency shortage also comes along with rising prices. Some residents and businessmen in Kabul said that the prices of major commodities, such as food and fuel, have almost doubled compared with last year.

A Kabul resident is calling for the U.S. to release the frozen assets to save people’s lives.

“The U.S. blocked the money of Afghanistan, leading to the economic downturn. The poverty rate has reached its peak and people will die, so we urge the U.S. to release money of Afghanistan because [if not,] sure the people will die,” said Mustafa Bahram.

 

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MTN receives $35 million offer for Afghanistan operation

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

South Africa’s MTN Group has received a binding offer for 100% of its shares in MTN Afghanistan for a consideration of approximately $35 million, the company has confirmed.

The identity of the buyer was not disclosed but the operator expects the transaction to be concluded within roughly six months, South African media reports indicated.

The sale will mark the completion of the group’s planned exit from its consolidated Middle East and Central Asia markets following the sale of its business in Yemen and the loss of its Syrian operations last year.

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Muttaqi urges China to help increase Afghan export volume

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Beijing’s visiting special envoy to Kabul on Tuesday and called on China to pave the way for Afghan exports.

During the meeting, held in Kabul, Muttaqi thanked the Chinese government for starting the visa issuance process in Kabul for Afghan traders, calling it beneficial for bilateral trade between the two countries.

China’s envoy Yue Xiaoyong said that he was working on bilateral and multinational relations with Afghanistan, and spoke about the “encouraging news during his recent regional visits,” according to a statement from the Afghan foreign ministry.

Yue also praised the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) for its efforts and achievements, adding that the new Afghan government has been able to fulfill challenging and significant tasks in a short period of time, and that it had managed the natural disasters and cold winter well, the statement said.

The Chinese special envoy said bilateral relations with Afghanistan had progressed significantly, adding that the meetings between the two countries’ foreign ministers depicted deep relations between the two nations.

He also said that in addition to pine nuts, China was considering importing other dried and fresh fruits to help Afghanistan’s economy.

China’s special envoy arrived in Kabul after visiting Turkey, Pakistan and India to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

In Kabul, the envoy also met with Acting Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqub Mujahid, where they discussed the need for bilateral cooperation.

Mujahid told the envoy that Afghanistan would facilitate investment in the country.

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Musk says Twitter deal could move ahead with ‘bot’ info

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(Last Updated On: August 6, 2022)

Elon Musk said Saturday his planned $44 billion takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are ‘spam bots’ or real people, AP reported Saturday. 

The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to sue him last month to complete the acquisition. Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.

Both sides are headed toward an October trial in a Delaware court.

“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” Musk tweeted early Saturday. “However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Twitter declined comment Saturday. The company has repeatedly disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission an estimate that fewer than 5% of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter has argued in court that Musk is deliberately trying to tank the deal because market conditions have deteriorated and the acquisition no longer serves his interests. In a court filing Thursday, it describes his counterclaims as an imagined story “contradicted by the evidence and common sense.”

“Musk invents representations Twitter never made and then tries to wield, selectively, the extensive confidential data Twitter provided him to conjure a breach of those purported representations,” company attorneys wrote.

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