Money exchanges start trading in new Indian currency

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Kabeer Yousuf –
MUSCAT –
Dec 7: While concerns over exchanging old currency with the new still remain unresolved with the Indian expatriate community after the State demonetised Rs 1,000 and 500 on November 8, many money exchanges in Oman have begun trading in the new Rs 2,000, it is learnt.
However, the rate that these houses are offering is little high and one would be charged RO 14.30 for the new Rs 2,000 note at a time when approximately RO 11 is charged for bank transfer.
“We have started trading in new Indian currencies since 2 days and the response is lukewarm”, a well-known money exchange told the Observer adding that the main reason for this indifference is the rates offered.
He further said that the rates are slightly on a higher side because they are sourcing the new currencies from neighbouring countries and that they had to pay a premium for the same.
“We are collecting the new currencies which are less in circulation from other exchange houses in the region and hence we have to pay a premium. That’s the reason why the rates are slightly high”, he added.
Another exchange house informed that they are offering Rs 2,000 notes for as competitive rates as RO 12 for any transaction at the Muscat International Airport counter.
“We are offering a Rs 2,000 note for as low as RO 12 or slightly less at our airport counter. This would give the customers a Rs 167 rate in terms of Indian Rupees”, a prominent exchange house said.
As way of bringing out all black money and fake notes to light, the Government of India announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 which were dominating nearly 75 per cent of the local transactions then on November 8.
Both expatriates in Oman along with locals who have a few notes of leftover money were puzzled as exchange houses stopped dealing in the old currencies. What added to the woes was that the money exchanges in the country suspended transactions in the old currency the following day.
“We are still awaiting instructions from the apex bank of India as to what to do with the old currency”, a senior official of a money exchange told the Observer.