Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The exchange rate of US dollar in the open market, known as kerb market, crossed BDT 79.00 on Wednesday ahead of the upcoming holy Hajj.

The exchange rate of the greenback shot up to BDT 79.20 on the day against BDT 78.00 on August 28 last, according to the currency traders.

They said the exchange rate of US currency has increased recently as the demand for the greenback increased substantially to meet the growing requirement of the pilgrims, currency traders said.

“The flow of cash dollar to the open market is being affected due to supply-side constraints,” a currency trader said, adding that the tough anti-money laundering act has been discouraging the expatriate Bangladeshis from sending their hard-earned money through the illegal ‘hundi’ channel.

In the formal market, four state-owned commercial banks were selling the greenback at BDT 75.45 and buying it at BDT 74.45 on Wednesday, a treasury official of a commercial bank said.

He also said most private and foreign commercial banks offered higher rates for the greenback than those of the state-owned banks.

On Wednesday, the US currency was quoted at BDT 76.15 in the maximum by a foreign commercial bank for bills for collection (BC) selling for opening letters of credit (LCs) against imports. It was quoted at BDT 74.95 two weeks back, market operators said.

On the other hand, the US dollar was quoted at BDT 75.22-BDT 75.24 on Wednesday in the inter-bank foreign exchange market. It was at BDT 75.00-BDT 75.02 on September 21 last, according to the central bank statistics.

“The demand for the greenback has increased slightly due mainly to settling of import payments for petroleum products and scrap vessels,” another treasury official of a leading private bank told BBN.

He also said the exchange rate of US dollar may go up further on Thursday if the central bank does not provide foreign currency support to the commercial banks, particularly state-owned commercial banks (SCBs).

BBN/SSR/AD-29Sept11-10:34 am (BST)