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Uzbekistan Returns to Currency Convertibility, Delivers Blow to Black Market

People waiting in line to exchange currency at a branch of Asaka bank, Uzbekistan’s largest lender, on September 5. (Photo: EurasiaNet.org)

The big bang has arrived for Uzbekistan’s financial system, with the government lifting decades-old currency restrictions that had choked entrepreneurship and enabled the black market to thrive.
 
At the opening of business hours on September 5, the Central Bank publicized the new official exchange rate for the national currency — the sum. From 4,200 sums to the dollar a day earlier, the rate on September 5 dropped suddenly to 8,100, even more than the going black market rate of 7,700 sums to the dollar.
 
On the same day, rule changes allowing Uzbek citizens to buy and sell foreign currencies in banks and exchange points went into effect. Many in the banking sector seemed to have been surprised by the developments, which have long been awaited by regular people and the business community alike.
 

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Uzbekistan Returns to Currency Convertibility, Delivers Blow to Black Market

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