Kazakh c.bank returns tenge to managed float

Feb 28. Reuters. ASTANA

* Tenge “fully stabilised against dollar” – c.bank
* Rising tenge a challenge to Kazakhstan’s economy

Kazakh c.bank returns tenge to managed floatKazakhstan’s central bank returned the tenge currency <KZT=> to a managed float from Monday, scrapping a trading corridor introduced two years ago to ease Central Asia’s top economy through the financial crisis.

“At this moment, the exchange rate of the tenge to the U.S. dollar has fully stabilised,” the central bank’s deputy head, Daniyar Akishev, told a conference.

“In these conditions, the National Bank has decided to scrap the corridor of fluctuations for the tenge and transit to a managed float of the exchange rate from Feb. 28,” he said.

The central bank had earlier said it would introduce a managed float for the tenge in March.

High world prices for Kazakhstan’s main exports, including oil, metals and grain, have bolstered the tenge in recent weeks, posing a challenge to the country’s $147 billion economy.

The trading corridor was introduced in February 2009 after the tenge was devalued by 18 percent in response to the deepening financial crisis and a weakening rouble, the currency of major trading partner Russia.

Originally set at 145-155 per dollar, it was widened to 127.5-165.0 in February 2010.

The tenge has appreciated by almost 1 percent against the dollar since the end of 2010, and last week reached its strongest levels since the devaluation.

The weighted average of the tenge on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange was 146.02 per dollar on Monday.