The Johns Hopkins Troubled Currencies Project

For various reasons – ranging from political mismanagement, to civil war, to economic sanctions – some countries are unable to maintain a stable domestic currency. These “troubled” currencies are associated with elevated rates of inflation, and in some extreme cases, hyperinflation. Often, it is difficult to obtain timely, reliable exchange-rate and inflation data for countries with troubled currencies.

To address this, the Troubled Currencies Project collects black-market exchange–rate data for these troubled currencies and estimates the implied inflation rates for each country. Its timely research made it the first to uncover and break the story of Iran’s flirtation with hyperinflation in 2012. It also determined that Venezuela became the world’s 57th episode of hyperinflation in 2016.

On July 22, 2020, the Troubled Currencies Project identified Lebanon’s episode of hyperinflation, the first ever episode in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. On the same day, World Economics released a study authored by Prof. Hanke and former research assistants Nick Krus and Joanna Gawlick that unearthed two episodes of hyperinflation that were unknown prior to their research. These episodes occurred in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1940 and 1944. With these newly discovered cases, Poland now has more episodes of hyperinflation than any other country in the world: four.

The data and estimates are updated on a regular basis and can be followed regularly via Prof. Hanke’s Twitter account.