Kazakhstan’s embattled national currency, the tenge, slid by 1% to KZT282.7 to the dollar in morning trading on November 3. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev sacked Kairat Kelimbetov as governor of the National Bank, the central bank, on November 2 and replaced him with Daniyar Akishev, acting aide to the president and head of the presidential administration’s socioeconomic monitoring department.
Akishev, 39, is believed to have favoured a sharp devaluation of the tenge, whereas Kelimbetov resisted it, according to the latter’s former adviser, financial analyst Olzhas Khudaybergenov.
Following enormous pressure the low oil price and slowdown in Kazakhstan’s main trading partners – Russia, the EU and China – had put on the tenge, the National Bank announced on August 20 that it had abolished a trading corridor for the tenge’s exchange rate and would allow it to float freely. Afterwards the tenge slumped nearly 30%.
The Kelimbetov-led central bank resumed interventions in the currency market in mid-September to prevent “speculative” operations in the foreign exchange market and is believed to have since spent over $5bn on propping up the tenge.
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