Dubai: A major currency exchange in the UAE is warning of a possible pound shortage in the country after the Brexit vote triggered a two-day rush for the currency.
Demand for pounds in the UAE have increased since Friday morning, as Gulf News reported on Friday after it was announced the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union.
A number of currency exchanges and banks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai visited by Gulf News on Saturday said they were running low on pounds as of 1pm.
“The demand has gone up by three times of average daily sales,” Al Ansari Exchange managing director Mohammad Al Ansari told Gulf News. “We have stock that could last only for three to four days. If the present trend of buying continues, we might soon run out of stock and there could be shortage in the market.”
At Mall of the Emirates, the country’s second-biggest shopping centre, Dubai’s biggest lender Emirates NBD was running low on pounds, according to branch staff. As was its Tecom branch. Each branch had around £1,000 (Dh5,000) as of 1pm, according to staff.
National Bank of Abu Dhabi’s (NBAD) Mall of the Emirates branch was out of pounds, though staff said that they usually only kept small quantities of the British currency.
Spokespersons at Emirates NBD and NBAD were not available to comment.
Many currency exchanges visited by Gulf News on Friday after the result of the vote was announced said they had ran out of pounds, which at one point fell to a 31-year low against the dollar. Global markets reacted to the vote’s result with massive sell-offs, plummeting stocks and commodities.
An increase in demand for the pound has occurred during the UAE summer holiday when demand for foreign currency is often already high as residents head overseas. British citizens are also one of the largest groups of western expats living in the UAE and the country is also a popular destination among UK holidaymakers.
UAE Exchange, Al Ansari Exchange, and Wall Street branches in Mall of the Emirates visited by Gulf News on Saturday all said they had plenty of pounds after they ran out the previous day. Staff at Redha Al Ansari Exchange and Al Ghurair Exchange branches in the mall said they were running low.
UAE Exchange president Sudhir Kumar Shetty told Gulf News there were no concerns about the currency’s availability. “We have enough supplies in all the branches and we can import more if the demand goes up,” he said.
However, Al Ansari said neighbouring countries were also witnessing an increase in demand with his company receiving requests to send pounds to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.
LuLu International Exchange chief executive Adeeb Ahmad told Gulf News it was “business as usual.”