News / Asia

    Banks in Azerbaijan Limit Foreign Currency Sales

    Manat banknotes, the national currency of Azerbaijan, are seen in this photo illustration taken in Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 18, 2016.
    Manat banknotes, the national currency of Azerbaijan, are seen in this photo illustration taken in Tbilisi, Georgia, Jan. 18, 2016.
    Reuters

    Some bank branches in Azerbaijan's capital imposed limits Thursday on the amounts of foreign currency they would sell to customers, who in some places lined up outside to convert their cheapening manats.

    Oil-rich Azerbaijan has been hit hard by the collapse in global crude prices, and the manat currency has fallen in value by more than a third against the dollar in the past month.

    The central bank has burned through more than half its foreign exchange reserves trying to support it.

    Authorities have reassured citizens that the slide in the currency will not continue much further, although President Ilhan Aliyev said Thursday that no new measures were planned to stabilize the manat, Russia's RIA news agency reported.

    But many residents are skeptical.

    "I'm afraid that the rate will go down again," Samira, a 51-year-old doctor, told Reuters as she stood in line at a Yapi Kredi Bank in central Baku to buy foreign currency.

    At some branches of the International Bank of Azerbaijan visited by a Reuters reporter, sales of foreign currency stopped after lunchtime Thursday. Shutters were down.

    Yapi Kredi Bank was selling dollars, but with a limit of $100 per person. Azerturk Bank was limiting customers to one transaction each per day.

    'Complete lawlessness'

    Nuara Kyazimova, a teacher, said she had been asked at Azerturk Bank for her identity document to buy $400, even though rules introduced this week state there is no need to show any documents for transactions under $500.

    "It's complete lawlessness," she said outside the bank.

    Restrictions imposed by banks were on top of limits mandated by the authorities.

    The central bank's official exchange rate for Thursday was 1.6028 manats per U.S. dollar.

    Central bank chief Elman Rustamov said Tuesday that rumors the manat might tumble further, to 1.8 to 2.0 per dollar, were groundless.

    Asked about that assurance, Ziad, a 26-year-old Baku resident, said: "Yes, I know why he has said that. It's because the rate will be worse, at 2.5 per dollar."

    Illegal street dealers in Baku were offering a rate of 1.8, "but they disappeared after police arrested some of them," said a vendor at a newspaper booth near the city market, where dealers were offering dollars last week. "The police have been monitoring this place since last Saturday," he said, before offering his services in setting up an illegal sale of dollars.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Postman
    January 23, 2016 7:16 AM
    I am sure that these are temporary measures and soon all the limits will be lifted.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora