George Washington’s Blog
Friday, Dec 12, 2008
Zimbabwe’s central bank is introducing a $500 million note — the highest current denomination — as the once-prosperous southern African nation battles against spiraling hyperinflation.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi made the announcement about the new note in a government gazette set for release Friday. On the back, the purple cotton bill will feature pictures of dairy cows being milked mechanically and a miner drilling underground, he said.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last week introduced a new set of denominations, including a $100 million note, but that has not helped to clear long lines for cash at banks. Some people sleep outside banks after failing to get cash.
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The RBZ said a $200 million note would be in circulation Friday, together with the $500 million note.
The $500 million note is worth about 8 U.S. dollars and enough to buy just eight loaves of bread. Thursday, the greenback was trading around ZW$60 million and is expected to shoot up in light of the new note’s introduction.
Prices change on an almost daily basis as businesses now peg their prices against the U.S. dollar.
Zimbabwe has had higher denominations than the $500 million note in the past. But over the past two years, the country has slashed zeros from the amount of its worthless currency — the latest being 10 zeros in August.
This article was posted: Friday, December 12, 2008 at 5:15 am