Trading Middle East Currencies

Is now the time to trade Middle East currencies? The region is in turmoil which typically leads to currency volatility. Wars raging in Syria, Iraq and Libya essentially make these countries failed states. So is the only choice to flee to safe haven currencies? Forex exchange trading can be the most profitable in times of high volatility and it can also be the most dangerous. First of all what are the currencies most likely to be affected by events in the Middle East as well as North Africa?

Trade Middle East Currencies

The Middle East encompasses a majority of Western Asia excluding the Caucasus and Egypt. These are the nations of the region, their currencies and currency symbols. We have added Libya as it lies next to Egypt and is part of chaos that currency plagues the Middle East.

Nation

Currency

Currency Symbol

Bahrain Bahrain Dinar BHD
Cyprus Euro EUR
Egypt Egyptian Pound EGP
Iran Rial IRR
Iraq Iraqi Dinar IQD
Israel Israeli new shekel ILS
Jordan Jordanian Dinar JOD
Kuwait Kiwaiti Dinar KWD
Lebanon Lebanese Pound LBP
Libya Libyan Dinar LYD
Northern Cyprus Turkish lira TRY
Oman Omani Rial OMR
Palestine Israeli new shekel ILS
Qatar Qatari Rial QAR
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Rial SAR
Syria Syrian Pound SYP
Turkey Turkish Lira TRY
United Arab Emirates Emirate Dirham AED
Yemen Yemeni Rial YER

Libya is a major oil producer. Its currency commonly trades close to the value of the US dollar. Despite the overthrow of the Kaddafi government and civil unrest the value of the Libyan Dinar had been rising in the eighty-two cent range and then took a fall with the current fighting. Nevertheless, it appears that the strength of the oil driven economy is such that traders are not bailing out of the Libyan Dinar.

The Egyptian pound has historically traded at about a sixth of the USD. Since the overthrow of the Morsi regime the pound fell to 1 EGP = 14 cents. But the strong military government seems to be bringing calm to currency markets and the EGP is currently stable.

One Syrian pound is currency worth 67/100 of a US cent. Five years ago before the country fell apart in civil war one Syrian pound was worth 2.25 cents. The value of the SYP could fall father if the civil war worsens and the Islamic Caliphate takes over the region covering eastern Syria and western Iraq.

Iraq’s currency used to trade one IQD = 9/100 of a cent five years ago and the lowest it has traded in five years is one IQD = 8/100 of a cent. Its price curve is very irregular consistent with a thinly traded currency.

The Saudi Arabia currency, the SAR, routinely trades at 1 SAR = 27 cents. The fact that Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s major oil producers is likely why this currency remains so stable. And there is no war directly on Saudi borders.

Despite the war in Gaza the Israeli new shekel has been going up from 25 cents in mid 2012 to more than 29 cents today. Intraday trading has been up to $0.2926 and down to $0.2911.

If you are going to trade foreign currencies in the Middle East for a profit there is intraday variation much like that of the Israeli new shekel. And there is the risk that any of these currencies could bottom out in response to current events. The nations that are most at risk to see their currencies plunge seem to be Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Cyprus is spared the troubles in local currency markets as it uses the Euro, which has its own set of problems and its own potential for profit.