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Crisis in Cuba: the dollar reaches 150 Cuban pesos in the informal market and the gap with the official rate widens

The US dollar was sold this Sunday at 150 Cuban pesos (cup) in the informal market for the first time since the 1990s, when the country experienced the crisis of the “special period.”

For the first time since the 1990s, the dollar reaches the value of 150 Cuban pesos, according to the reference values ​​of our Informal Market Representative Rate.

In turn, the state Exchange Houses (known as Cadeca) sell the green ticket at 123.60 cup and buy it at 110 cup.

The euro, according to the informal rate, was at a rate of 149 cup; while the MLC (a virtual currency backed by foreign currencies and for exclusive use on the island) at 148.5 cup.

To correct the disparity between the official exchange rate of 24 Cuban pesos per dollar, the Cuban regime announced in August that it would buy dollars (at 110 cup) and sell them in a limited way (at 123.6) depending on the availability of the note in banks, a parity similar to the one that prevailed at that time in the black market, before the informal market rose.

The Cuban Minister of Economy of the dictatorship, Alejandro Gil, said at that time that the objective is “to recover the purchasing power of the salary in Cuban pesos”, to reach a “single exchange rate” and to attack “the main problem of the Cuban economy, which is the lack of foreign currency”. The measure also reaches other foreign currencies in Cuba.

The dollar began to appreciate progressively -and to the detriment of the cup- since its official exchange rate was unified at 24 to 1 in January 2021, as part of a broad economic reform called the Ordering Task.

The dollar has not reached a value as high as the current one since the “special period in times of peace”, named after the late dictator Fidel Castro.

During the 1990s, the Cuban economy entered a recession that gave way to shortages and shortages of basic products.

Immersed in a partially dollarized economy, some Cubans receive foreign currency from family and friends or from activities related to tourism, the economic engine of the island. But others were forced until now to acquire these coins in the informal market at exorbitant prices.

With food, medicine and fuel shortages, as well as constant blackouts, Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in 30 years, due to the impact of the pandemic and the US embargo.

Inflation closed at 70% in 2021 in Cuba, according to official figures.

In the midst of this situation, buying foreign currency was an old claim to the regime due to the high price of foreign currency in the informal market.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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