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Money exchange … An historic profession in Kuwait

Currency exchange is one of the oldest professions in Kuwait, associated with travelling and trade. The trade movement in old Kuwait required the existence of places to exchange and replace currencies from the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq and Asia.
In this context, Kuwaiti heritage researcher Mohammad Abdulhadi Jamal said in his book “Crafts, Professions And Old Business Activities In Kuwait” that until before the end of the 19th century, Kuwait had a number of money exchange shops, and it was an important meeting place for shoppers and merchants.

Jamal said that the currencies traded at that time were only metal coins, before the entry of the banknotes to the market in the late 1920s, adding that the most important of which were the Saudi riyal, Austrian riyal, Iraqi dinar and the Iranian riyal, as well as trading in sterling and the US dollar in a limited amount due to lack of need for those currencies.

He said that the money exchanger was buying the different currencies from merchants who came to Kuwait from neighboring countries to buy their needs, noting that the exchange business was increasing in the winter, and greatly reduced during the summer. He pointed out that the Bedouins were the most important customers of the money exchanger, where they exchanged amounts of Saudi and Austrian riyals, which were trading in the Gulf countries at the beginning of the last century.

The Kuwaiti researcher said that the number of money exchange shops increased to about 10 shops in the mid-1940s, especially after the end of the Second World War, where the currency exchange activity expanded significantly due to daily requests from Baghdad and Basra merchants to buy and sell various currencies. – Kuna

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