Iran's rial falls to new low, as coronavirus deaths hit new high

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Iranian rial fell to new lows against the US dollar on Sunday as the daily death toll from COVID-19 heightened concerns over new US sanctions that could block some of Iranian drug purchases.
According to forex website Bonbast.com, the dollar sold for up to 312,200 rials in the unofficial market, up from 304,300 on Saturday.
On the website of the business newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad, the dollar rate of 303,300 on Saturday was given as 310,000.
The Tehran-based daily said the rial fell to 317,000 per dollar on Sunday but reclaimed some of its losses after the central bank announced it would inject $ 50 million a day in support of the currency.
The currency lost about 57% of its value in 2020 as a drop in oil prices exacerbated the economic crisis in the country, which also has the highest COVID-19 count in the Middle East. On Sunday the daily death toll hit a new high of 251.
The United States on Thursday imposed new sanctions on the Iranian financial sector and fined 18 banks to further curb Iranian revenues as Washington increased pressure on Tehran weeks before the US elections.
Analysts said the sanctions could further deter European and other foreign banks from cooperating with Iran, even for legal humanitarian transactions.

(dubai.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com, editing by William Maclean)

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