ECONOMICS: Black Market Kaputt

Paris, basking in the fine Easter sunshine, was invaded by hordes of eager tourists. As they took in the sights or eyed the smart Parisian girls in their spring dresses, they were accosted by furtive "characters who hissed: "Have you dollars?" Most of the time, the answer was a blunt no. The bottom had fallen out of the currency black market.

Only three months ago, a U.S. dollar would fetch 530 French francs on the black market. Last week, the going rate was down to 330, about the same as the official exchange rate offered to tourists at any bank...

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