Friday, June 23, 2006

Inflation: Yugoslavia One, Germany Nil

I was wrong about Post-WWI Germany having experienced the worst episode of hyperinflation i history.

And not only was I wrong, it happened only twelve years ago.

DQ reader Milos Miljkovic was there, although he was only about twelve at the time. He sent me a link to a story on Serbia/Yugoslavia in 1993-1994. Here's an excerpt:
Between October 1, 1993 and January 24, 1995 prices increased by 5 quadrillion percent. This number is a 5 with 15 zeroes after it.

...Many Yugoslavian businesses refused to take the Yugoslavian currency, and the German Deutsche Mark effectively became the currency of Yugoslavia. But government organizations, government employees and pensioners still got paid in Yugoslavian dinars so there was still an active exchange in dinars. On November 12, 1993 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 1 million new dinars. Thirteen days later the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6.5 million new dinars and by the end of November it was 1 DM = 37 million new dinars.

...At the beginning of December the bus workers went on strike because their pay for two weeks was equivalent to only 4 DM when it cost a family of four 230 DM per month to live. By December 11th the exchange rate was 1 DM = 800 million and on December 15th it was 1 DM = 3.7 billion new dinars. The average daily rate of inflation was nearly 100 percent...On December 29 the exchange rate was 1 DM = 950 billion new dinars.

At the end of December the exchange rate was 1 DM = 3 trillion dinars and on January 4, 1994 it was 1 DM = 6 trillion dinars. On January 6th the government declared that the German Deutsche was an official currency of Yugoslavia. About this time the government announced a NEW "new" Dinar which was equal to 1 billion of the old "new" dinars. This meant that the exchange rate was 1 DM = 6,000 new new Dinars. By January 11 the exchange rate had reached a level of 1 DM = 80,000 new new Dinars. On January 13th the rate was 1 DM = 700,000 new new Dinars and six days later it was 1 DM = 10 million new new Dinars.

Absolutely incredible. Here's a link to both that story and the Wikipedia entry on hyperinflation.

Oh, and Yugoslavia actually issued a 500 billion dinar banknotein 1993. There's a picture of the note in both articles. And yes, I went to Ebay immediately to put in a bid for one of those bad boys (which cost me about ten dollars). That's a piece of history that I can't do without.

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