Following national independence in 1991 from the former Soviet Union, the Uzbek som crashed in value as the economy struggled with high inflation amongst a difficult transition to reforming its economy. With a population of 27 million, Uzbekistan is a nation that is rich in natural resources (gold, natural gas) and is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton. Muruntau, Uzbekistan is home to one of the world’s largest gold discoveries at 175 million ounces.
GDP as measured by purchasing power parity equates to $47.5 billion USD (2004) with corresponding GDP/Capita at $1,800 USD. GDP growth for year 2004 came in at 4.4 percent. Inflation at 4 percent for year 2004, late 1990’s inflation was high, year 1996 at 55 percent. Foreign exchange reserves stand at $1.6 billion USD (2004). Manageable debt levels, healthy trade surplus.
CURRENCY: ISO Symbol ‘UZS’, Uzbekistani sum, Uzbek som, soms (plural). At time of review on September 9, 2005, the currency had an exchange value of 1132.7 UZS to the US-dollar (USD) and/or 1408.2 UZS to the EUR. During year 2003, Uzbekistan accepted IMF proposal for full currency convertibility, currency controls however are in place.
CURRENCY HISTORY: historical currency quotes include: year 2004 at 1020 UZS to the USD, 2003 at 971.2, 2002 at 771, year 2001 at 423.8, year 2000 at 236.6, August 25, 1999 at 132.4, September 1997 at 75.8, 1996 at 41.1, 1995 at 30.2, 1994 at 11.4 and 1993 at 1 to the USD.
CURRENCY FORECAST: as a large natural gas exporter, it is quite possible that the Uzbek som has finally stabilized after 15 years of continual debasement. A Uzbek economy that is deficient in legal infrastructure that enforces contracts and protection of property rights along with bankruptcy provisions is a key roadblock to future success. Other major currency risks are primarily political with the potential for domestic instability.
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UPDATED: September 9, 2005