Turkmenistan maintains an official exchange rate (US$1=TMM5,200), but currency exchanges on the
|Exchange rates: Turkmenistan|
|Turkmen manats per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
black market are often 3 times the official rate. The government has not significantly intervened to artificially support the national currency, although in January and again in April 1995 the Central Bank attempted unsuccessfully to unify the 2 exchange rates. Subsequently, the government decided to limit foreign exchange sites, which resulted in greater disparities between the official and black-market rates. Most banks in Turkmenistan are government owned and the principle lending task is to channel foreign loans into designated state-run enterprises. In 1998, prudent steps taken by the government required businesses to have minimum capital equal to US$1 million; however, audits to determine solvency and adherence to banking laws have been sporadic. In December 1998, the government suspended free convertibility of hard currency to limit capital flight .
Turkmenistan has a single stock market, with 300 joint-stock companies. In 1993, the Law on Securities and Stock exchanges was adopted, although companies have not been allowed to issue stock freely. The success of Turkmenistan's stock market will depend upon further privatization projects and a more transparent legal and accounting system, which remain the same from Soviet times and are not likely to be changed in the near future.