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Armenian Currency Bounces Back After IMF Loan


People line up outside an exchange office in Armenia earlier this month.

People line up outside an exchange office in Armenia earlier this month.

YEREVAN -- Armenia's national currency, the dram, rose 2.2 percent gainst the dollar on March 5 after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave the country $540 million in emergency loans, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Economic analysts say the currency’s upward tick, trading at 363 drams to the dollar, allows for cautious optimism.

Andrew Colquhoun, director of the credit rating firm Fitch Ratings, said Armenia's decision to seek IMF help is a "welcome signal" of a "cautious approach" to the economic crisis.

Michael Ganske, head of emerging-markets research at Commerzbank in London, told Bloomberg that the loan gives the Armenian currency critical flexibility because it is "very, very hard to maintain an overvalued currency" in the global economic environment.

Dollars were once again available at currency exchange shops in Yerevan.

The U.S. currency could not be found earlier in the week after the dram lost 20 percent of its value against the dollar.
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