Saturday, January 01, 2005

Turkey drops 6 zeros from national currency

At midnight on New Year’s eve, Turkey will cease to be the land of millionaires and billionaires.

That is when the government drops six zeroes from the national currency and Turkey loses the dubious distinction of being the country with the largest denomination in circulation, the 20,000,000 lira, worth only about $15.

The zeroes are the result of decades of double-digit inflation that has taken the currency from 2.8 to the dollar throughout the 1950s to 1,350,0000 per dollar today.

For many Turks, the new money will simply end the confusion of dealing in a currency in which the smallest coin in general circulation is the 50,000 and a short taxi ride can set you back 5-10m.

Bigger purchases can be measured in the billions and the Turkish gross national product is a mind-bending 424 quadrillion or 424,000,000,000,000,000.

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