20% hike: Big stores in Kazakhstan change prices amid tenge devaluation 11 февраля 2014, 17:52
Bely Veter store closed. ©Marat Abilov
Big stores are changing prices on their imported goods amid the devaluation of tenge in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports.
A few hours ago Kazakhstan National Bank announced that starting from today, February 11, 2014, the central bank is setting the new exchange rate of 185 tenge for $1 (up from 155 tenge for $1).
Astana Motors' public relations department explained that they were recalculating prices of their cars. "We have not closed any of our showrooms. But we are changing the prices based on the currency rate. Our prices are in tenge, so we have to recalculate," they explained.
Large home appliances stores selling TV sets, microwaves, computes and etc. are also adjusting their prices to the new exchange rate. "Yes, we have already reopened our stores. The prices have been increased by nearly 20%. But our online stores have not resume their work yet," a representative of TechnoDom Almaty commented the situation.
A large network of compute shops - Bely Veter (White Wind) - has also suspended their sales to set new prices, but reopened the same day. Mechta (Dream) network of home appliances closed down, but did not say specify when they are going to open.
In the meanwhile Magnum, a large network of grocery stores in Kazakhstan, closed its doors until February 14 to change the prices.
Many Kazakhstan residents still remember the time when prices were spiraling within hours and the inflation was adding new zero every day right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So the devaluation, mass prices hikes and shops with closed doors raise unpleasant memories and even fears in people. After the new exchange rate was announced many hurried to buy stuff and stock up on food panicking and anticipating the worst.
People started besieging ATMs to withdraw cash until the cash machines ran empty.
A woman came with her husband to Mechta store in the morning and left it with a vacuum cleaner, multicooker and a TVset in hand, one of the buyers told Tengrinews. "The cashier was changing the old prices to new ones right as we were choosing stuff to buy. We insisted that we had a right to buy the things we selected at old prices. And now the shops have closed and sell nothing," she explained.
After the devaluation announcement was made many exchange closed down, others have set weird exchange rates preventing any reasonable person from entering their doors. The exchange rates in Kazakhstan banks has been set to over 200 tenge per $1.
The Akim (Mayor) of Almaty city Akhmetzhan Yessimov instructed the municipal authorities to monitor and cit to keep the prices from spiking, but to no avail so far.
By Rosa Yessenkulova and Assemgul Kassenova