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Energy-Rich Turkmenistan Devalues Currency, Raises Gas Prices

Turkmenistan's central bank has devalued the country's currency against the U.S. dollar and significantly increased gas prices.

The bank's website on January 1 showed the rate at 3.50 manats to the dollar, up from the 2.85 manats/$1 rate in place since 2009, a devaluation of more than 18 percent.

All currency exchange offices and banks in the capital, Ashgabat, were reportedly closed on January 1, including at the airport.

Meanwhile, Turkmenistan's Oil and Gas Ministry announced that gasoline prices had been increased by 60 percent, from 0.62 manats ($0.22) per liter to 1 manat per liter.

The government gave no official comment for the changes in the exchange rate or the price of gas.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said in his televised New Year's address on December 31 that Turkmenistan had "achieved high levels in all areas of the economy" and strengthened its "economic might."

Based on reporting by AFP, Daily Sabah, and Channel News Asia

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