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Kazakh Mortgage Debtors Protest As Tenge Reaches New Low


Mortgage holders protest in front of the ATF bank in Almaty on January 16

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- In Kazakhstan, dozens of people struggling with the spiraling costs of their foreign currency mortgages have demonstrated in the country's largest city, Almaty.

The protesters gathered on January 12 in front of the ATF Bank and Fortebank offices, saying their loans should be recalculated in tenge with an exchange rate of 182 to $1.

On January 11, the tenge felt to 367 against the dollar at the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange -- its lowest level since Kazakhstan moved to a free floating currency in August 2015.

The currency of Central Asia's biggest energy exporter tumbled more than 40 percent last year as slumping oil prices spurred a flight to dollars.

The decline has triggered several public protests in Almaty and the capital, Astana, in recent months.

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