It’s chaos out there!

23 03 2007

At last someone has said it! Pius Ncube, outspoken Catholic archbishop has said that Zimbabweans are cowards. I said it a little more diplomatically in my previous post; they are waiting for someone else to take action.

Yesterday I was out shopping and doing other business things. I  can only draw 1000000 Zim dollars in cash from my corporate account; that’s about US$50 at yesterday’s rate. There’s not a lot one can buy with that, especially as businesses are shying away from cheques that take 5 days or more to clear. eBanking does get around that one to some extent but you usually  need to know the company involved. I believe that the new $50000 notes are now out (US$2.50) but they have only been seen in Reserve Bank wrappers and are not in the banks. Curiously the governor of the RB is accusing the fuel suppliers of driving the exchange rate!

The exchange rate (parallel or black market for the less PC) is around 200000:1 for cash and up to 30000 for electronic. This is a jump of around 25% in less than a week. The 0’s, 3 of them, that were knocked off at the beginning of October last year are now effectively replaced. The de facto unit of currency is now back to 1000. How much is that? 234 (000). I paid 300 for that last week! I mean 300000.

Those selling currency sell only what they need to get them to the next sale. This sounds obvious but with the rate moving several percent a day there is no point in changing anything but the essential. It therefore makes it difficult to find substantial amounts as a small buyer.


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