The term “dollarization”, commonly used among academic economists and finance specialists, has already entered Georgians’ everyday vocabulary. Few people, however, understand what dollarization is, how it comes about and why they should care. Below we try to fill this gap, explaining some basic concepts and discussing why and how dollarization affects ordinary people’s lives.
Beginning in July 2017, if an entrepreneur offers and/or advertises property and/or service for sale in the territory of Georgia, the price of the property/service shall be expressed solely in GEL. According to the bill, failure to abide by the new law when denominating the price will lead to a warning, while a repeated offense will lead to a penalty of 1000 GEL. Each subsequent offense will be subject to a penalty of 5000 GEL.
Unofficial (partial) dollarization describes a situation when a foreign currency is used alongside the domestic currency for transactions purposes and as a store value. High partial dollarization is not good for a country, as it ties the hands of its Central Bank when it wants to use monetary policy. In a highly dollarized economy, national currency depreciation can even lead to financial instability.
Furthermore, high dollarization makes depreciation a dangerous process for the financial sector, as many people with loans or debts in US dollars are unable to pay. In addition, high and persistent dollarization constrains the effectiveness of the monetary policy, as the transmission of the monetary policy to the market interest rates and real variables are rather limited.
Based on the latest data, the updated annual GDP growth projection is 3.4%. It is noteworthy that the model starts to provide the most accurate annual estimate in September when seven months of data is available on core explanatory variables.