The value of the Romanian leu has slowly declined on the world market for the past 10 years. In 1990, there were 24 lei to the U.S. dollar. By 2000, the average exchange rate was 21,693. The government and national bank have attempted to control this devaluation by defending the currency within a controlled band. Inflation averaged 45.7 percent in 2000, and, though the trend appears to be gradually downwards, the government's finances are still strained. There remains a slight risk of a return to the high inflation of the early 1990s (256 percent in 1993). For this reason, international rating agencies do not yet define Romania as an investment grade country.
Romania has 2 stock exchanges: the Bucharest Stock Exchange, which handles the biggest companies; and the Rasdaq, intended for smaller companies. Both exchanges peaked during the mini-boom of 1997, but confidence and turnover is now low. The Bucharest Stock Exchange is capitalized at US$11.5 billion, while the Rasdaq is capitalized at US$826 million.