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Zimbabwe to circulate higher bank notes as inflation soars

by Kudakwashe Vhenge


Zimbabwe is introducing higher denomination bank notes in the first quarter of this year to increase the amount of cash in circulation and ease the burden of carrying wads of cash for transactions after its currency lost value.

Zimbabwe brought back the discredited Zimbabwe dollar currency in June 2019 after a decade of dollarisation. The move failed to end severe cash shortages and unleashed inflation, which peaked at 837.53 percent in July last year, one of the highest in the world.

Inflation for November stood at 401.66 percent.
Eddie Cross, who sits on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s Monetary Policy Committee, said new $50 notes in the local currency were imminent, to be followed by $100 and $200 notes later in the year.

“The only new note which is due to come in shortly is the $50 note, and I’m not certain when that’s going to be available but it’s in the process of preparation,” Cross told the Sunday Mail.

“There are already plans to introduce some higher denomination notes this year. Some time ago we made a decision in the MPC to introduce new $200, $100 and $50 notes. I understand that this is being dealt with by the governor working with President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa because he has to approve the designs and so on.”

Cross said Zimbabwe has $1.4 billion in cash circulating in the form of $5, $10 and $20 bank notes. A loss of value by the Zimbabwe dollar now means Zimbabweans must carry wads of notes to complete simple transactions.

Although the central bank has previously said it would not print money to finance the budget, many Zimbabweans have bad memories of the central bank’s money printing activities that caused hyperinflation a decade ago, wiping pensions and savings.

Economic analysts say the government’s budget is under pressure from spending to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

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