Republic Bank branch on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.

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Effective March 23, Republic Bank Ltd will reduce its US dollar spending limit per billing cycle on all Republic Bank credit cards.

The bank announced the change will see a reduction in its customers spending limit on credit cards from US$12,000 to US$10,000.

In a release, the bank said it noted the impact the change may have on clients’ day-to-day operations, but said this was necessary to manage its forex portfolio.

The change will apply to all transactions conducted outside of T&T and international online transactions where the chosen billing currency is TTD.

These online transactions will be included in the monthly US$10,000 billing cycle, RBL said.

Local TTD transactions conducted online or at merchants remain unaffected.

Clients should contact the Bank’s Credit Card Contact Centre at 627-3348 or visit its website www.republictt.com for further information.

The Central Bank had noted that the country’s net foreign reserves were US$6.86 billion at the end of January.

Meanwhile, local businesses continue to complain that the availability of foreign exchange to pay for imported goods has approached crisis proportions.

A recent survey conducted by the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the T&T Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) in collaboration with other key stakeholders found that the lack of foreign exchange has been a daunting challenge.

Two hundred and four firms across nine business organisations participated in the survey and the majority of firms, approximately 83 per cent (170 firms) were affected by the inability to source forex to purchase raw material and some finished products from external sources.

The survey noted that this resulted in firms facing drastic negative impact on sales, inability to maintain supply chains which resulted in delays in restocking and meeting orders, inability to procure essential equipment and/or components, more stringent credit terms and conditions from suppliers, allowing for increase cost and inability to meet commitments to foreign suppliers in a timely manner, impacting credibility and leading to accounts and goods/services being placed on hold.

Alarmingly, the survey also noted, 66 per cent of firms (135) received less than 50 per cent of their forex requirements from their local bankers in 2020.