Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today, without exaggeration, everybody in Yerevan was talking about the sudden dollar/dram exchange rate change. “Interestingly,” the accountant said, “they waited until the March 1 rally had passed. Then, today, until just before the Central Bank’s mid-day break, they changed the rate from 308 to nearly 400 dram per dollar. People with connections were told what was going to happen, and they went to the exchange shops where owners were forced to sell dollars for 308 dram. Then they changed the exchange rate, and went back and bought dram, making a killing. But the bad thing is that stores began marking prices up, sometimes by 20%, on basic, everyday items, butter, oil, flour, that sort of thing, which makes life almost impossible for the average person. Natural gas and gasoline are next, then other items will follow. You should have seen the look on people’s faces today. Everybody was in shock.”

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