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Geldcast update: Ukrainian refugees cannot exchange cash for Swiss francs

Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Switzerland with cash are finding it hard to exchange their hryvnia currency into Swiss francs. In the latest Geldcast podcast, economist Fabio Canetg discusses some of the possible solutions.

The Russian war in Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee; over 20,000 Ukrainian refugees have already been registered in Switzerland. Many of them arrive with little more than a suitcase and some cash.

But the money they have brought with them is effectively worthless for the refugees. This is not because the Ukrainian currency – the hryvnia – is worthless; it is still accepted in Ukraine.

But practically no-one outside Ukraine wants to exchange foreign currency for Ukrainian money, including in Switzerland. Refugees are also unable to spend their cash in Switzerland as banks have refused to exchange the Ukrainian currency for Swiss francs.

Why is that? And what could the Swiss National Bank do to help refugees? Find out more about this issue in the latest Geldcast update podcast.

From stock exchanges and bitcoin to inflation and monetary policy – the Geldcast update podcast features the latest news and views from the world of international finance. Clear and entertaining for everyone who wants to stay up to date. The podcast is hosted by monetary economist and business journalist Fabio Canetg.

Subscribe to the Geldcast update in English on YouTube. And you can find many more episodes in German on iTunesSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

The SWI swissinfo.ch Geldcast

Author Fabio Canetg completed his doctorate in monetary policy at the University of Bern and the Toulouse School of Economics. Today he is a lecturer at the University of Bern.

As a journalist, he works for SRF Arena, Republik Magazin and SWI swissinfo.ch. He hosts the monetary policy podcast “Geldcast”.