In an effort to combat the dollar black market, Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) says it supplied more US dollars this year than in the last four years.
In 2022, MMA sold USD 993.7 million, a 58.59% increase from 2019, in which the central bank sold USD 626.6 million under its foreign exchange intervention policy. MMA forecasts its interventions will increase by 3 per cent this year.
MMA has once again provided US dollars to the State Trading Organization (STO) to import essential goods such as staples, pharmaceuticals, and fuel. This intervention aims to mitigate the impact on the foreign exchange rate resulting from the global increase in fuel prices. The central bank also supplied US dollars to other state-owned enterprises to finance debt repayments.
As part of additional efforts to address US dollar constraints faced by banks, MMA issues US dollars to Maldivians who travel overseas at the rate of USD 500 per traveller via the Bank of Maldives (BML).
Additionally, the central bank supplies US dollars to groups undertaking Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages and individuals travelling abroad for medical treatments and educational purposes.
The black market rate for US dollar exceeds MVR 18, surpassing the bank’s fixed rate of MVR 15.42. The Bank of Maldives (BML) has set the daily maximum for US dollar withdrawals at USD 1,600.