RIGA – An American tourist cashing in $20 for lats on July 13 gained about 50 santims, more than the price of a cup of coffee, or a quart of milk or an OK can of beer, on the exchange rate a year ago. On July 13 a U.S. dollar would buy about .6050 lats, compared to .58 lats in July 1997, a difference of 4.3 percent. For bigger spenders, the new 500-lat note, released by the Bank of Latvia on July 20, would have cost $32 more a year ago.
The lat to dollar exchange rate broke the .60 mark in late June, the first time since 1993. The rate was .60 lat per dollar on June 26, up from .5960 the previous day, according to Bank of Latvia figures.
The lats per dollar rate established a platform in the .60s and maintained it for more than three weeks, spiking to .6050 on July 13, the day that Russia announced that it had negotiated a $22 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
The fall of the lat against the U.S. dollar this summer is not very significant, a foreign exchange dealer at Bank of Latvia, Karlis Bauze, said July 20.