Food prices on the rise in Turkmenistan as dollar cash withdrawals restricted

ASHGABAT (TCA) — From the beginning of this year, food prices in Turkmenistan have grown 18% to 50%, the Chronicles of Turkmenistan independent website reports.

 

The price for Russian vegetable oil has increased from 7 to 8 or 9 manats and for sugar – from 4.8 to 5.8 manats. According to the sources of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, irregular sugar supply is still being recorded. Sugar can be purchased only in select stores with a restriction of two kilos per person being applied. Radio Azatlyk earlier reported that the state plan for sugar beet yield was not fulfilled last year.

The price for flour imported from Russia and Kazakhstan has increased from 3.4 to 4 manats. Prices for various canned foods have also jumped up. Prices for vegetables and fruits have seen a considerable increase. At the beginning of the year potatoes cost 2 manats per kilo whereas now they are sold at 3.8 manats. Prices for bananas increased from 8 to 12 manats whereas prices for Iranian apples rose from 10 to 15 manats.

Some food products are also occasionally unavailable in Turkmenistan, for instance, chicken drumsticks or eggs. Many types of cheeses have completely disappeared from the shelves and the prices for those cheeses which are still available have considerably gone up.

Amidst the price hike the value of the Turkmen national currency, the manat, is being depreciated. On the black market the dollar exchange rate has been established at 7.2 to 7.5 manats per $1. The official exchange rate remains at 3.5 manats per $1 and judging by recent statements by the President, the authorities will be trying to further maintain the exchange rate.

Starting from February the holders of Turkmen credit cards who are staying abroad can withdraw a maximum of $200 a day. Until February this amount equaled $1,000. This led to the fact that entrepreneurs purchasing merchandise abroad have reduced the purchase volumes, which has affected the range and prices of imported goods in Turkmenistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA

Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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