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Demand on dinar surges as summer holiday starts

By Omar Obeidat - Jun 06,2015 - Last updated at Jun 06,2015

People wait to change money at a currency exchange shop in Amman on Saturday (Photo by Omar Obeidat)

AMMAN – Jordanian expats and Arabs seeking residence and vacation in the Kingdom are driving demand for the dinar, according to a leading money changer. 

President of the Jordanian Exchange Association Alaa Eddine Diraniyeh told The Jordan Times Saturday that cash transfers by Jordanians working abroad, particularly in the Gulf region, have been surging in the past weeks either to buy properties or for deposits in local banks. 

Remittances of Jordanian expatriates, according to the Central Bank of Jordan, reached $1.2 billion in the first four months of this year, up by 3.4 per cent compared with $1.1 billion recorded in the same period of 2014. 

"Usually remittances by expatriates surge in summer," Diraniyeh said, noting that the weeks ahead of Ramadan see higher cash transfers from abroad. 

Ramadan is expected to start June 17 or 18, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

Meanwhile, the Yemen crisis seems to have prompted Yemeni investors to move to the Kingdom, according to Diraniyeh. He noted that over the past months, a good number of Yemeni businesspeople sought residence in the Kingdom to start investments, indicating that the influx of wealthy Yemenis has driven up demand for the domestic currency. 

No specific figures were available, but the sector leader said that hundreds of Yemeni families fled violence in their country to Jordan, which has led to the unprecedented exchange of Yemeni riyals into Jordanian dinars.

"Wealthy Yemenis are opening factories and commercial establishments in Jordan and also buying residential properties," he told The Jordan Times over the phone, while he was meeting a group of Yemeni potential investors in Amman.  

Jordan's stability and security pushed hundreds of thousands of Arab nationals to seek residence in the Kingdom, he said, which caused a tangible increase in the population. 

The rise in population is the main factor for the unprecedented increase in demand for the dinar seen in the past few years, Diraniyeh said. 

Official figures estimate the number of people living in the Kingdom at around 10 million, with 6.6 million of whom are Jordanians, while the rest are mainly from several Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.  

"Jordan is the safest haven for Arabs fleeing unrest in their countries," he said. 

Diraniyeh expected demand for the currency to surge even further as tens of thousands of tourists from the Gulf region are expected to spend their summer holidays in the Kingdom. 

 

Last year, around 160,000 cars carrying Gulf tourists and expatriates entered Jordan during the summer. 

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