Georgian lari falls, prices up due to coronavirus
Over the past ten days, the Georgian lari has fallen significantly—by 23 tetri against the dollar to 3.0118 GEL, and by 26 tetri against the euro to 3.3684.
The National Bank says the fall is caused by turmoil on global financial markets due to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 13, the National Bank of Georgia sold $20 million at foreign exchange auctions to strengthen the lari.
At the same time, prices are rising. In just two days, sugar went up by 40 tetri. The price of one kilogram is now 2 lari [about 70 cents].
People are buying up large amounts of potatoes, flour and sugar, especially in crowded shopping centers.
However, the authorities claim that this panic is unwarranted, and that there is no danger of food shortages, as goods are regularly brought into Georgia.
“There are only restrictions on the movement of people, not on the import of goods and cargo,” said Georgian Minister of Economy Natia Turnava.
Georgia has established a working group on food supply and price regulation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Maya Tskitishvili.