The dollar breaks a new record in the Cuban informal market

Cuba announces surprise reversal of US dollar deposit ban

HAVANA, February 11 The US dollar set a new record this Saturday in Cuba when it was quoted at 300 pesos (CUP) in the informal exchange market,which deepens the strong depreciation of the local currency since the 2021 monetary reform.

The new maximum – recorded by the index prepared by the independent media El Toque, which has become a benchmark for the informal market – occurs in uncertainty regarding the announcement by the Cuban Government to implement a new devaluation of the CUP in February.

The measure, the date of which is still unknown, is part of a macroeconomic adjustment plan whose main measures – among them the increase in fuel prices by 400% – will be postponed “until further notice.”

A few days after Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced the plan in Parliament, the informal rate registered a slight drop to reach 265 CUP per dollar. But in 2024 this has risen again to the levels before the announcement, until breaking the record this Saturday.

The Cuban Government has on several occasions recognized failures in the design and implementation of the 2021 reform, called Task Ordering, which has not met the objectives of ending the island’s monetary duality, which used the CUP and the convertible peso ( CUC), equivalent to the dollar.

The informal market, the largest on the island, is where many people stock up on dollars due to restrictions on purchasing them at state exchange houses, where only up to 100 units of the US currency are sold per person per day, and only if there is availability.

The El Toque index – criticized by the Government for considering that it encourages “speculation” – takes as a reference nearly 2,000 daily advertisements for the sale and purchase of foreign currency on various Cuban websites to establish its reference exchange rate.

In the absence of another type of official indicator, this has become the reference on the street and for economists who study the situation in the country.