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Located in southern continental Africa, Swaziland is landlocked. Independence was obtained in 1968 for this small country home to 1.136 million people. The majority of citizens survive on subsistence agriculture resulting in 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line. Foreign exchange is mostly obtained via sugar, asbestos and wood pulp exports. Remittances from citizens working in South Africa’s mines help to form a major contribution to capital inflows. Unfortunately, the economy is under dire stress from the country’s looming social difficulties including the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rate running at 40 percent.

Economic Statistics
Total GDP as measured by purchasing parity stands at $5.6 billion USD (2005) with corresponding GDP/Capita at $5,000 USD. GDP market at $2.11 billion USD (2005). GDP growth rates have year 2005 at 1.8 percent, 2006 projected at 1.2 percent, 2007 projected at 1 percent. Inflation figures include July 2006 at 5.5 percent, year 2005 at 4.8 percent, year 2006 estimated at 5 percent, 2007 at 5.9 percent. The current account is in deficit at 1.6 percent of GDP (2005) with the trade portion in deficit at $158 million USD (2005). The fiscal account is in deficit at 4.3 percent of GDP (higher expenses for oil imports). Unemployment at 40 percent (2005). Foreign exchange reserves including gold stands at $311 million USD (2005) or at approximately 1.1 months of import coverage. Prime interest rate stands at 11.5 percent. Energy importer.

CURRENCY: ISO Symbol ‘SZL’, Swazi lilangeni. At time of review on September 15, 2006, the Swazi lilangeni had an exchange valuation of 7.3815 SZL to the US-dollar (USD) and/or 9.351 SZL to the Euroland euro (EUR). The currency is at par (1.0) to the South African rand. Swaziland follows that of a bi-monetary currency system as both the lilangeni and South African rand are accepted as national currency. Currency exchange controls are in place since 1974 by decree of the King for management of currency in circulation. Over the last few years, there has been modest exchange control liberalization in order to strengthen the financial sector.

CURRENCY HISTORY: the lilangeni came into circulation as Swaziland’s national currency in 1974 when it was pegged to the South African rand at par (1.0) where it stands today. Historical exchange quotes include year 2005 at 6.36 SZL to the USD, 2004 at 6.41, 2003 at 7.56, 2002 at 10.54, year 2001 at 8.6, 2000 at 6.9, 1999 at 6.1, 1998 at 5.48, 1997 at 4.59, 1996 at 4.27, 1995 at 3.62, 1994 at 3.54, 1993 at 3.26.

CURRENCY FORECAST: weakening economy. Negative currency outlook coupled with a potential for lilangeni revaluation to the rand? In addition, further pressures include political uncertainty for a movement towards a democracy from an outright monarchy. For a detailed currency review of Swaziland or any other currency listed in this BI.C currency index, please click the BankINTRO.com currency consulting banner below and send us an email request. We will be happy to provide a quote for currency consulting services.

UPDATED: September 15, 2006

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