”Sometimes the day ends and I still have half a basket left,” she said.
Fruit has become a luxury here, according to Pierre-Louis.
”This is prima facie evidence that just when you think the misery level reaches its maximum in
Once stable at around 27 gourdes to the dollar, the exchange rate hit 50-1 on Friday.
Analysts say the government is running up high deficits, making investors and consumers lose confidence in the national currency. The situation has been building since last fall — when Haitians sent millions of dollars out of the country after a rumor spread that the government was going to convert dollars in private bank accounts into gourdes.
”Between the political crisis and the economic crisis, it’s a very difficult mess. You’re talking about the population living a very difficult crisis,” said Kesner Pharel, a prominent Haitian economist on a fellowship at
Haitians have also lost confidence in the government’s monetary authorities, he said.
Venel Joseph, head of
”You know that the political situation has an overall influence on exchange rates. That is perhaps [a reason] that people panic. People don’t see where things are going, economically, politically,” Joseph said.
Joseph said the bank will ”intervene” in the market to stabilize the gourde, but he didn’t say how specifically. He did say the bank will raise the interest rates on its bonds.
Typically, a government could use its reserves to stabilize the currency, but even those have dwindled in
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has promised to push through a minimum wage hike — raising it to about $2 an hour, but even the value of that increase has slipped.