At midnight on New Year's Eve, Turkey will cease to be the land of the millionaires and billionaires. That is when the government drops six zeros from the national currency and...
ANKARA, Turkey — At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Turkey will cease to be the land of the millionaires and billionaires.
That is when the government drops six zeros 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 about $15.
The zeros are the result of decades of double-digit inflation that has taken the currency from 2.8 to the dollar throughout the 1950s to 1,350,000 to the dollar today. This year was the first time in three decades in which inflation fell into single digits.
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For many Turks, the new money will end the confusion of dealing in a currency in which the smallest coin in general circulation is the 50,000, a loaf of bread can cost 350,000 lira and a small container of orange juice costs 1,900,000 lira. As the new year begins, that loaf will cost 0.35 new Turkish lira (or 35 kurus), and that orange juice will be 1.90 new Turkish lira.
Officials hope that the new lira will facilitate international trade and boost confidence in the economy as Turkey pushes for EU membership.
“The Turkish lira has been like funny money … and now, at least in cosmetic terms, it will look like a real currency,” said Tevfik Aksoy, chief economist in Turkey for Deutsche Bank.
But not all Turks are happy.
Some say they will be depressed when they wake up New Year’s Day and see that the millions or maybe even billions they had in the bank are just hundreds or thousands of new lira.
“If a person has 10 billion in investments, this will suddenly decrease,” said shop owner Hayriye Evren. “This will definitely affect people psychologically.”