Foreign Currency

Uzbek CB begins to limit foreign exchange trading data and delay the release of reserves report


The Central Bank has begun to partially classify data on
transactions in the foreign exchange market,
Azernews reports, citing Kun.uz news agency.

Previously, in the table on the volume of currency exchange in
the monthly statistical bulletin, separate information on currency
trading by commercial banks was published. In the new bulletin for
2023, this section has been summarized and changed to “Currency
turnover of commercial banks”.

During 11 months of 2023, foreign currency was bought by banks
for $17.02 billion (+20% compared to the same period in 2022) and
sold for $5.6 billion (-12.5%), that is, the difference between
purchases and sales during the year Increased from $7.79 billion to
$11.42 billion (+46.6%). Banks are buying more currency for their
customers and selling less on the exchange.

Financier Otabek Bakirov
said that this difference will be borne by the Central Bank, as
well as the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Recovery and
Development Fund (UFRD – a sovereign fund that receives income from
the sale of gold, copper and gas above certain price limits).

In the January-November bulletin, one can see how the sharp
devaluation of the soum against the dollar affected currency
trading. In March 2022, after the national currency was devalued by
4.5% in three weeks, the trading volume on the exchange almost
doubled, so that in April banks sold more currency than they bought
(such a positive difference was not observed in the last few
years).

However, in August 2023, the correction in the exchange rate, in
which the national currency fell to 408 soums (-3.5%) in one day,
did not lead to an increase in supply at the currency exchange. In
September, the volume of sales continued to decrease, and only by
October, banks began to increase the offer.

According to the final bulletin for 2023, in December, the
highest volume of foreign exchange trade in the last four years
(data from 2020) was $2.66 billion, which is 9.7% more than in
December 2022.

In addition, the Central Bank is delaying the publication of
gold-currency reserves by 20 days. The calendar of the IMF’s
extended disseminating system releases this monthly report on the
7th of each month.

As it was previously reported, the international reserves of
Uzbekistan decreased by $1.2 billion and amounted to $34.56 billion
by the end of 2023. For the first time since 2018, year-end
inventories fell. The physical volume of gold decreased by nearly
25 tons during the year, and foreign exchange reserves decreased by
$2.27 billion and amounted to $9.37 billion.

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