Azerbaijan sets its currency on free float

BAKU: Oil-rich Azerbaijan has let its currency float freely, leading to its sharp depreciation as global oil prices hit new lows.

Azerbaijan's Central Bank said Monday's move to let the manat fluctuate was made to "preserve hard currency reserves ... and ensure the national economy's competitiveness on the international arena."

Following the move, the manat fell by 32 percent. One manat, which was worth around $0.95 Friday, was now trading at $0.65.

The ex-Soviet nation has spent more than half of its hard currency reserves so far this year in an attempt to shore up the embattled currency.

Financial analyst Oqtay Akhverdiyev said the decision to let the manta float was "a necessary measure ... what we're now seeing is the real value of the manta."