The Bangladesh Bank has suspended the operations of two more money changers – Ankon Money Changer and Foyez Money Changer – for keeping dollars beyond the limit and other irregularities.
As part of its measures to stabilise the kerb market, the central bank took similar action against Bismillah Money Changer on Thursday.
Officials at the central bank said the operations of several other money changers are likely to be suspended soon.
The Bangladesh Bank will issue show-cause notices to several money changers for flouting its rules and will warn the businesses of stricter measures in case of irregularities in the coming days.
A senior official at the Bangladesh Bank told The Business Standard that several central bank teams have carried out raids with members of the law enforcement agencies at money changers in the capital for the past one week. On Sunday, they inspected 22 money changers and found most of them violating the rules. The central bank did not go on any operation on Monday.
Pointing out that show-cause notices will be served on 3-4 money changers, the official said, "We have seen that the money changers are keeping dollars more than the Bangladesh Bank's approved limit."
"If the dollars are kept in this way, the supply of the greenbacks in the market decreases and the shortage is created, resulting in an increase in its prices. They were immediately warned not to exceed the reserve limit. Now, these money changers will be asked to come up with their explanations," he added.
There are 602 authorised money changers in the country, of which 232 are valid. The rest have their licences suspended or revoked. The money changers' daily transaction information has to be sent to the Bangladesh Bank. At the end of the day, a money changer can keep a maximum of $25,000 with it and will have to sell the excess amount to banks. However, due to a lack of regular monitoring in the past, money changers have not paid much attention to this rule.
On Monday, the dollar was sold at Tk108 in the kerb market. The money changers sold the greenbacks at the same price on Sunday.
Several money changers in the Paltan, Motijheel and Baitul Mukarram areas of the capital said they bought the dollars at Tk107.
Earlier, on 26 July, the dollar soared to a record high of Tk112. Due to monitoring, the price dropped to Tk108 the following day.
An official at a money changer in Motijheel said that more customers came to market on Monday compared to the previous days. However, many traders are afraid to buy and sell dollars due to the supervision of law enforcement agencies.
The price of cash dollars in banks has also come down slightly. On Monday, they bought cash dollars at Tk104 and sold them at Tk107. On Thursday, banks sold the dollar at a maximum rate of Tk108. Among state-owned banks, Rupali Bank continued to sell cash dollars at Tk104.95, while others sold at Tk102.
Earlier on Thursday, Bangladesh Bank's spokesperson Md Serajul Islam said that action will be taken against those money changers and banks who made a profit by raising the price of the dollar. The central bank is working to keep the dollar market stable.
He also said that the drive will continue to identify those involved, adding if evidence of irregularities is found, the licence will be suspended if necessary.
Banks on Monday settled letters of credit (LCs) of imports at the maximum rate of Tk105.
But banks have to compete to collect dollars from exchange houses. The head of the treasury department of a private bank told TBS that the exchange houses are asking for higher prices.
"We couldn't buy any dollar today even after offering Tk106. If the houses increase the price this way, the dollar price will also increase in the settlement of import LCs," he added.
The Bangladesh Bank sold $50 million to banks at the interbank exchange rate of Tk94.70 on Monday. The central bank has sold more than a billion dollars from reserves since 1 July of the current fiscal year.