Ukraine's fixed exchange rate and the underground market for dollars and euros : The Indicator from Planet Money How one Ukrainian is circumventing the government exchange rate to turn U.S. dollars into medicine for Ukrainians near the front lines.

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

The cost of a dollar in Ukraine

The cost of a dollar in Ukraine

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1167044819/1198987671" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In Lviv, Kateryna Sporysh holds a box of medicine to donate to people living near Ukraine's front lines. Joel Wasserman/Joel Wasserman hide caption

toggle caption
Joel Wasserman/Joel Wasserman

In Lviv, Kateryna Sporysh holds a box of medicine to donate to people living near Ukraine's front lines.

Joel Wasserman/Joel Wasserman

Ukraine has been burning through its emergency stash of U.S. dollars and euros to buy weapons and supplies ever since Russia invaded. To prevent the stash from emptying out, Ukraine has made it harder for locals to convert their money into dollars.

The result is an underground market for dollars, where street dealers set their own rates. If you want to buy dollars right now, it'll cost you a premium. But if you have U.S. dollars to convert into local currency, you can get a great deal.

Today on the show, one Ukrainian who's getting dollars into the country and using the favorable exchange rate to buy more medicine for Ukrainians near the front lines.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts and NPR One.

For sponsor-free episodes of The Indicator from Planet Money, subscribe to Planet Money+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.