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Georgian Lari Hits All-Time Low Against Dollar
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Jan.'16 / 19:08

The Georgian central bank sold USD 20 million as the national currency, lari, hit a record low against U.S. dollar on January 22.

GEL fell 1% over the previous day to 2.4694 per U.S. dollar.

The Georgian national currency has lost 3% of its value against dollar since the beginning of this year and 26.4% since January, 2015.

GEL started depreciation in November, 2014 falling by about 40% against dollar since then.

Depreciation of lari is increasing debt burden of borrowers with U.S. dollar loans. About 64% of total loans in Georgia are denominated in foreign currency, mostly in U.S. dollar.

GEL’s previous all-time low of 2.451 per U.S. dollar was recorded in February, 1999.

Central bank’s January 22 intervention was the second one this year and the third one in almost a month with USD 20 million sold each time aimed at dampening excess exchange rate volatility.

Central bank made total of nine interventions last year with total sales reaching USD 286.96 million.

Gross international reserves stood at USD 2.52 billion as of end-December 2015, up from USD 2.479 billion a month earlier and down from USD 2.699 billion a year earlier.

PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili told Georgian journalists in Davos on January 22 that devaluation of currencies in Georgia’s main trading partners, among them in Azerbaijan, has negative repercussions on lari.

“There is nothing alarming and we have all the reasons to be optimistic as Georgia will have quite a good economic growth this year,” he said.

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