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Turkmens Rush To Buy Dollars Amid Rumors Of Further Devaluation

MARY, Turkmenistan -- Local residents in Turkmenistan's southeastern city of Mary have been rushing to foreign exchange offices to buy U.S. dollars amid rumors about plans for a further devaluation of the national currency, the manat.

RFE/RL correspondents in Mary say there were long lines at currency exchanges across the city on February 2.

At the start of the year, Turkmenistan's central bank devalued the manat currency's value against the U.S. dollar by 18 percent and significantly increased natural gas and gasoline prices.

The move on January 1 raised the exchange rate to 3.50 manats per dollar, up from the fixed rate of 2.85 manats per dollar that had been in place since 2009.