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No hard currency deficit, says National Bank

By M. Alkhazashvili
Wednesday, August 20
Despite the Russian aggression the GEL has remained stable and consumer prices have not markedly increased. Money exchanges however now prefer not to sell hard currency. They sell GEL, but only in small quantities.

Economic experts think that this is already a sign of the beginning of a crisis. The population feels more secure owning dollars or euros rather than lari. Such a situation cannot last for long, as a hard currency deficit will create a black market and lead to higher prices. When this happens the state will not be able to control the situation, predict some analysts.

The National Bank of Georgia administration however has endeavored to damped skepticism by assuring the population that situation is well under the control and that the National Bank has enough resources to stabilize GEL exchange rate against foreign hard currency. Indeed Giorgi Kalandadze, Head of the PR Department of the National Bank of Georgia, promises that the bank has enough reserves to exchange every lari in circulation for dollars if need be.

So far banking restrictions have only been applied to loans and internet banking. Overdraft restrictions have already been lifted. The Georgian government has assured the population that there is no need to panic.