The website of Armenia’s Central bank has been posting some really interesting data recently. While the US dollar exchange rate has remained quite steady at about 305 drams per 1 US dollar, the striking differences in the volume of foreign currency trading on 24th, 25th and 26th of February cause real concern.
On February 24, for example, the volume of US dollar trading is reported as $ 14,910,000 US. On 25 – there is a drastic rise to $ 25,348,000 US, and today – all of a sudden – there is a figure of $ 3,292,000 US. Meanwhile, no obvious major factor seems to have impacted this situation. The average balanced exchange rate in all three cases is reported as 305 drams per 1 US dollar.
Meanwhile, people keep telling me there is panic in the banks and currency exchange shops and how lot’s of people are rushing to get rid of their Armenian drams.
More specifically, my accountant told me today, that there was a $1000 limit set in Artsakhbank’s exchange shop in front of Yerevan Cinema on Tigran Mets street for US dollar exchanges. The clerks were asking for passport for US dollar transactions, while for Euro or Russian rouble there was neither limit, nor passport inquiry.
Interestingly, Azg Daily had pulished an article on Tuesday, where it blamed the opposition media for using “the criminal tactics employed by Soros” of spreading news about devaluation of national currency. Azg was criticizing the “certain media” for ”disseminating false information about Armenian dram’s devaluation”.
Well – from what we’ve seen so far – the dram’s exchange rate is steady, but CBA figures contested with eyewitness accounts of what’s actually happening in the banks and exchange rate shops seems to signal big changes ahead. Today’s $ 3,292,000 US figure may mean one of the two things:
1) The CBA has imposed limits on exchange rate operations trying to prevent the fall of the AMD, or
2) The CBA has decided to give up selling off US dollars trying to maintain the AMD rate at the 305-306 level, and we will soon witness a significant fall of AMD value against the US dollar.
Frankly, I don’t know and thankfully – I don’t have any money to worry about!