X
X

Turkmenistan: Learning to Live With a Dollar Drought

Under a video screen displaying currency exchange rates, customers line up at service counters in the Ashgabat branch of the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan in 2014. On January 12, the Turkmen government made it forbidden to purchase foreign currencies as it tries to ensure its own manat does not buckle. (Photo: Turkmenistan Government Press Service)

In what feels like a last throw of the dice, Turkmenistan is forbidding the purchase of foreign currencies as it tries to ensure its own currency, the manat, does not buckle.
 
The measure, which citizens hoping to trade in their cash for dollars and euros only learned about at bank branches on January 12, did not come as a total surprise.
 
For months, restrictions have slowly tightened as authorities watched with apparent dismay as Kazakhstan’s tenge and Azerbaijan’s manat collapsed. Starting last August, citizens were limited to exchanging $1,000 each month per person. Tellers at cash exchange points plugged passport details into a computer database to ensure against repeat attempts to change money elsewhere.
 
The clamor for foreign cash is being fueled by the anxiety of a long-rumored devaluation. Savers with large amounts of money in manat-denominated bank accounts were badly stung at the start of 2015, when the currency was suddenly devalued overnight from 2.85 to the current official rate of 3.50 to the dollar. Prior to that, account holders were offered recurring reassurances that no devaluation was on the way.
 

To read the full story

Turkmenistan: Learning to Live With a Dollar Drought

1 / 1
X
> <