The Central Bank of T&T (CBTT) is denying allegations of not supplying foreign exchange (FX) to commercial banks in over one month.
Responding to questions posed by Guardian Media Ltd (GML), the Bank said: “For July and August 2020, the Central Bank sold US$100 million and US$105 million respectively, to the dealers (including all 8 commercial banks)”.
Additionally, CBTT noted that it intervenes in the domestic FX market on a regular, scheduled basis. It indicated that this is currently every two weeks.
The CBTT also highlighted that the amount of FX sold to the market takes into consideration a number of factors, including prevailing market conditions.
Moreover, the CBTT explained: “Allocations to individual authorised dealers from each intervention are based largely on the dealer’s size and customer base.”
For the year to date, the CBTT acknowledged that it has sold US$890 million to the authorised dealers.
Also responding to questions posed by GML were some of the local banks.
Managing Director of RBC Royal Bank Trinidad and Tobago Gretchen Camacho-Mohammed said RBC has not encountered any changes or disruption in the amount of FX it has received from the CBTT.
She said, “RBC Royal Bank continues to receive the support of our regulators, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, with uninterrupted injections of USD – consistent with historical patterns. In this regard, we do not consider there are delays or shortfalls in allocations to RBC.”
RBC was also asked whether there are currently restrictions on foreign exchange withdrawals to clients, to which Camacho-Mohammed responded:” There are no restrictions on USD withdrawals to clients who are debiting from their respective USD accounts.”
However, the RBC T&T Managing Director noted that depending on the amount requested, available cash may not be accessible at the time of withdrawal. She posited that clients could make their requests in advance to ensure the cash amount is available when the client presents himself/herself at the branch for collection.
Camacho-Mohammed also disclosed that disbursement can be also be done via draft or wire transfer, and such requests are facilitated immediately.
GML has also had reports of clients going to the bank and not receiving foreign exchange in cash since the borders are closed. It questioned RBC on whether this is true, and inquired about their clients who wished to send FX to a family member abroad through a medium like Western Union.
According to Camacho-Mohammed, “RBC continues to prudently manage its foreign liquidity position.” She added that there has been no significant change in policy and procedures, as it pertains to the purchasing of USD cash at the bank’s locations.
Similar questions were also posed to Scotiabank.
Scotiabank explained that “locally, there has been less available foreign currency for some time” and this has been further impacted by lower oil prices and the temporary shutdown of various petrochemical plants.
The financial institution also acknowledged that the CBTT “continues to provide stability to the local FX market via the periodic injections of FX into the market which are utilized by the FX Dealers to sell to clients with FX demand for trade purposes.”
Scotiabank said it continues to fully support the economy by providing FX to its corporate, small business and retail clients across all sectors of the economy.
The bank added: “We focus the distribution of FX towards meeting trade related demand, especially for medical, travel and educational purposes.”
For customers seeking to access FX, Scotiabank has asked them to liaise with their Relationship Managers or branch representatives to help them in the shortest possible timeframe.