LKR down 3% so far in 2020
The US dollar went above Rs. 185 last week for the first time this year, with the increase in Covid-19 patients reported locally. Since 1 January 2020, the LKR had been hovering around Rs. 181 until the second week of this month.
The currency started the year at Rs. 181.50 and witnessed a slight appreciation during the first couple of days. However, during the month, it depreciated by 0.04%. On 1 February, the LKR was at Rs. 181.40 and fluctuated throughout the month, yet remained below Rs. 182. During the period from 1to 29 February, it depreciated by 0.22%. The monthly depreciation rate of the LKR has escalated alarmingly in March with it dropping to 186.93 to the US Dollar on 20 March from 181.92 on 1 March. During March alone, the LKR has depreciated by 2.6%.
Not only the LKR, but currencies of other Covid-19-hit countries have also depreciated during the past couple of weeks. As of 12 March, Nigeria confirmed just two Covid-19 patients. However, naira to dollar exchange rates, which stayed quite stable at around 360 naira to the dollar since mid-2017, reached 430 naira.
The Iranian rial lost more value in the past few days as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country and oil prices fell. Iran is one of the worst-affected countries from Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) on 13 March sold $ 20 million at a foreign exchange auction to control the national currency’s changing value against the US dollar. The NBG said that the recent depreciation of the lari, the Georgian currency, was linked to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak that has been transmitted to the financial markets through the channel of expectation.