The Saudi-backed government in Yemen has threatened to arrest foreign exchange dealers trading the rial illegally as part of its efforts to prevent a further decline in the value of the country’s currency.
The government will take steps to halt the depreciation of the rial as it struggles to buy imported fuel for power stations and local market consumption with foreign currency, the government-run Saba news agency reported, citing Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghr. The currency declined to about 400 rials to the dollar on the black market, compared with the official rate of 380 rials.
The currency has depreciated since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to halt the advance of Shiite Houthi rebels, who are considered backed by Iran. The war pushed the poorest Middle Eastern nation further into poverty, and its civilian death toll has drawn international criticism. The currency traded at about 215 rials to the dollar before the war.