ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Kazakhstan's currency, the tenge, has lost about 23 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar.
The Khazakh government had opted Thursday to allow the currency to float freely on the market.
The country faced falling prices in oil prices, which led to the currency's collapse, The New York Times reported.
The Kazak government spent about $28 billion propping up the tenge over the last two years, as the currency is officially trading at 252.47 to the dollar. On the streets, however, the rate is about 240 tenge to the dollar, Radio Free Europe reported.
"The price of this policy would have been shrinking output in the country, a loss of jobs and burning hard currency, that is, our reserves," President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a televised meeting with the directors of major Kazakh companies on Thursday. "In a bad and unclear situation on our foreign markets, this was a necessary measure and we had no alternatives. You know, we planned our programs differently, but a crisis always brings changes."
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided a $1 billion loan to Kazakhstan after the drop in the tenge's value hit the news.
In neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan dollars were being sold at 5-6 percent above their respective official rates Friday.