Frontier market currencies amongst most stable

By bne IntelliNews April 3, 2009

bne, APA-Economics -

The international global crisis is not exactly passing the frontier markets by, but it's doing a lot less damage to these relatively backward countries than to the more developed markets. A survey by Russian online brokerage Finmarket at the end of March found that the less-developed countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) enjoy some of the most stable currency exchange rate regimes.

Azerbaijan's manat was top dog and remains one of the most stable currencies in the world, according to Finmarket's ranking, which is based on data from the Central Bank of Russia. The manat ranked first in the CIS area and second to the Iranian rial in the region, according to the CBR data. In all, the manat ranks 28th among the currencies of 117 countries worldwide. According to the report, the manat strengthened by 21.9% against the Russian ruble in February, while the Iranian rial held the first spot, strengthening 23.8%.

In fact, all the top-performing currencies were in countries that do not often score well in the economic press. Georgia was a close second to Azerbaijan in terms of stability and both countries are expecting to post GDP growth this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Uzbekistan was also near the top of the list. Clearly, in the current climate having a virtual dictatorship and all-but complete control over the economy is paying dividends, as illustrated by the strong performance of Turkmenistan's manat.

Amongst the big losers was the Kazakh tenge, which was down against the dollar by just under 7.0%, performing worse than both the dollar and the pound.

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