Inflation, currency depreciation lead Zimbabweans to reject even high-denomination banknotes

By bne IntelliNews October 4, 2023

Some Zimbabwean traders are now rejecting the country’s second-biggest denomination banknote, the ZWD50 bill, as the local currency continues to depreciate.

The transacting public, according to NewsDay on October 3, had already stopped using the Zimbabwean dollar banknotes of ZWD2, ZWL5, ZWL10 and ZWD20.  They have now added to that list the ZWD50, worth an estimated $0.0089 using the official rate, and only accept the ZWD100 bill (about $0.0179), which was introduced in April 2022. 

Effie Ncube, the president of the National Consumers Rights Association, told the daily that the rejection of lower denomination notes reflects a lack of confidence in the local currency and the government's economic policies. The trend could lead to further devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar, he says, resulting in higher prices for goods denominated in the local currency.

NewsDay estimates that the Zimbabwe dollar has lost 18% of its value since the August 23-24, 2023 election. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in office since November 2017, won a second successive term with 53% of the vote, but the main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa who go 44%, has denounced the result, alleging rigging.

Independent economist Prosper Chitambara told NewsDay that the rejection of the ZWD50 note is likely to prompt the government to introduce higher denomination notes, which, however, could increase the money supply and inflation, which fell from 77% on an annualised basis in August 2023 to 18% in September.

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