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Zimbabwe banks ordered to ring-fence foreign currency accounts

 
Zimbabwe bond note
  • Central Banking Newsdesk
  • 03 Oct 2018
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has ordered banks to ring-fence nostro foreign currency accounts in what appears to be a step towards de-dollarising the country.

“This is essential in order to preserve value for money for the banking public and investors during the transition to a more market-based foreign currency allocation system,” the central bank said in its most recent monetary policy statement.

Such a system would be implemented once “the economic fundamentals are appropriate to do so”, it

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https://m.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/zim-dollar-will-be-reintroduced-at-an-appropriate-time-says-vp-chiwenga-20180630.......

Zim dollar expected to make a comeback, says VP Chiwenga

time_icon_grey.png 15:30 30/06/2018
 
 
 

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga says the Zimbabwe dollar will be reintroduced at an "appropriate time", after the government has fixed the country's ailing economy.

According to the state-owned Heraldnewspaper, Chiwenga told Zanu-PF supporters at a rally in Shurugwi this week that the government needed to sort out the country's economy by "reopening industries" first.

The Zimbabwean dollar collapsed between 2008 and 2009 due to hyperinflation, thus, forcing the country to adopt a basket of foreign currencies that included the South African rand, the United States dollar, the British pound and the Euro. 

Chiwenga's remarks came a few days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa made similar remarks.

 

Mnangagwa reportedly "hinted on plans to reintroduce" the dreaded Zimbabwean dollar in order to address the current issue of cash shortages in the southern African country.

According to NewsDay Mnangagwa said that the country was in need of its own currency.

Diamond and gold reserves

This was not the first time that Mnangagwa made such comments.

In July 2017, Mnangagwa, then vice president, was quoted by the Heraldnewspaper as saying that government was "building diamond and gold reserves to back the local currency upon its re-introduction in future".

Mnangagwa, however, refused at the time to disclose when the local currency would be re-introduced, but said it would only come back when mineral reserves reached desired levels.

"We are building reserves of gold and diamonds which if they reach a certain level I will not tell you here, it will then allow us to introduce our own currency that will be backed by those minerals. I am not at liberty to disclose to you the level that we want those minerals to reach before they can back our own currency," Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

For two years now Zimbabwe's worsening cash shortages have caused misery for locals trying to withdraw their money from banks.

Cash has remained on high demand, especially for things like bus fares

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https://m.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/zim-leader-hints-on-plan-to-bring-back-dreaded-zim-dollar-report-20180627......

Zim leader hints on plan to bring back dreaded Zim dollar – report

time_icon_grey.png 06:02 27/06/2018
 
 
 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly "hinted on plans to reintroduce" the dreaded Zimbabwean dollar in order to address the current issue of cash shortages in the southern African country.

According to NewsDay, prior to an alleged assassination attempt on Saturday, the president told his supporters that the country was in need of its own currency.

The Zimbabwean dollar collapsed between 2008 and 2009 due to hyperinflation, thus, forcing the country to adopt a basket of foreign currencies that included the South African rand, the United States dollar, the British pound and the Euro. 

This was not the first time that Mnangagwa hinted on the return of the Zimbabwe dollar. 

 
 

In July 2017, Mnangagwa, then vice president, was quoted by the state-owned Herald  newspaper as saying that government was "building diamond and gold reserves to back the local currency upon its re-introduction in future

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Zimbabwe Promises New Currency as Dollar Shortage Bites

January 12, 2019 10:30 PM
A motorcyclist with two jerry cans attached to his motorbike counts his bond notes at a fuel station, Jan. 11, 2019, in Harare.
A motorcyclist with two jerry cans attached to his motorbike counts his bond notes at a fuel station, Jan. 11, 2019, in Harare.
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HARARE, ZIMBABWE — 

Zimbabwe will introduce a new currency in the next 12 months, the finance minister said, as a shortage of U.S. dollars has plunged the financial system into disarray and forced businesses to close.

In the past two months, the southern African nation has suffered acute shortages of imported goods, including fuel whose price was increased by 150 percent Saturday.

Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 after it was wrecked by hyperinflation and adopted the greenback and other currencies, such as sterling and the South African rand.

But there is not enough hard currency in the country to back up the $10 billion of electronic funds trapped in local bank accounts, prompting demands from businesses and civil servants for cash that can be deposited and used to make payments.

Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube presents his budget statement in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Nov. 22, 2018, in Harare.
Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube presents his budget statement in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Nov. 22, 2018, in Harare.

Two weeks of reserves

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told a townhall meeting Friday a new local currency would be introduced in less than 12 months.

“On the issue of raising enough foreign currency to introduce the new currency, we are on our way already, give us months, not years,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s foreign reserves now provide less than two weeks cover for imports, central bank data show. The government has previously said it would only consider launching a new currency if it had at least six months of reserves.

Bad memories of Zimbabwean dollar

Locals are haunted by memories of the Zimbabwean dollar, which became worthless as inflation spiraled to reach 500 billion percent in 2008, the highest rate in the world for a country not at war, wiping out pensions and savings.

A surrogate bond note currency introduced in 2016 to stem dollar shortages has also collapsed in value.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is under pressure to revive the economy but dollar shortages are undermining efforts to win back foreign investors sidelined under his predecessor Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa told reporters Saturday that the price of petrol had increased to $3.31 per liter from $1.32 since midnight but there would be no increase for foreign embassies and tourists paying in cash U.S. dollars.

Locals can pay via local debit cards, mobile phone payments and a surrogate bond note currency.

Public transport drivers complain about having to pay for fuel in U.S. dollars at a fuel station, Jan. 11, 2019, in Harare. Motorists are spending nights waiting in long queues for petrol and diesel as the country is experiencing crippling fuel shortages.
Public transport drivers complain about having to pay for fuel in U.S. dollars at a fuel station, Jan. 11, 2019, in Harare. Motorists are spending nights waiting in long queues for petrol and diesel as the country is experiencing crippling fuel shortages.

With less than $400 million in actual cash in Zimbabwe, according to central bank figures, fuel shortages have worsened and companies are struggling to import raw materials and equipment, forcing them to buy greenback notes on the black market at a premium of up to 370 percent.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has warned some of its members could stop operating at the end of the month because of the dollar crunch.

Cooking oil and soap maker Olivine Industries said Saturday it had suspended production and put workers on indefinite leave because it owed foreign suppliers $11 million.

A local associate of global brewing giant Anheuser-Busch Inbev said this week it would invest more than $120 million of dividends and fees trapped in Zimbabwe into the central bank’s savings bonds.

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https://www.google.com/amp/s/businesstech.co.za/news/banking/293218/zimbabwe-to-get-a-new-currency/amp/...

Zimbabwe to get a new currency

Staff Writer 3 weeks ago
Dollar-1024x683.jpg
     

Zimbabwe is set to introduce a new currency in the next 12 months the country’s finance minister said, as a shortage of US dollars has sent the country’s financial system into chaos, with businesses forced to close.

Reuters reported that the country has  endured an acute shortage of imported goods over the past few months, including fuel prices – up by 150% on Saturday.

Zimbabwe has adopted currencies from other countries since moving away from the local dollar in 2009, due to hyperinflation. This has included the rand, the US dollar and the pound.

Reuters reported that the Southern African country doesn’t have enough hard currency to back up the $10 billion of electronic funds trapped in local bank accounts.

“On the issue of raising enough foreign currency to introduce the new currency, we are on our way already, give us months, not years,” finance minister Mthuli Ncube said on Friday.

Zimbabwe’s foreign reserves now provide less than two weeks cover for imports, central bank data showed.

Labor unrest is mounting with fuel, food, medicines and foreign exchange all in short supply, Bloomberg reported.

Zimbabwean state employees threatened to join a strike by doctors and teachers unless the government addresses the impact of inflation on their salaries.

Prices in Zimbabwe are rising at the fastest pace since a hyperinflationary spiral in 2008, when the rate hit 500 billion percent, amid a scarcity of foreign currency that’s caused a shortage of food and fuel. Teachers this week joined a nationwide strike begun by doctors last month over inadequate pay.

 

Inflation.png

 


 

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https://mailandtelegraph.com/2019/01/23/zim-new-currency-out-in-a-month/.....

Zim new currency out in a month

 January 23, 2019
minister-of-finance-zim-696x391.jpg Zimbabwe's Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube hinted on the introduction of new currency

Zimbabwe should brace itself for a new currency within the next month, the Mail and Telegraph has learnt.

Sources close to the developments say the currency was already printed in March last year and is being kept safely at the vaults by the  Central Bank.

The sources said the currency could not be introduced due to a number of political factors and confidence boost but the currency is likely to be launched within the next month.

They said the currency will be backed by gold and that government has been purchasing the gold through Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR).

Gold deliveries to FPR for 2018 hit a record 33, 2 tonnes up from 24, 8 tonnes the previous year as Government led stakeholder efforts to upscale production begin to bear fruit.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube also recently  hinted that government would introduce own currency.

Ncube made the revelations during his address at the Global Shapers Community meeting held at the Celebration Center two weeks ago.

We should be close on currency reforms. It will happen by stealth because we can’t. Currency reforms started October 2018 but we didn’t have fiscal discipline in place. We won’t capitulate to the USD but have currency reforms.

We are less than 12 months away from currency reforms,” he said.

In an interview with Bloomberg in Davos, Switzerland on Monday, Ncube also hinted that he was implementing a cocktail of measures that include enforcing fiscal discipline, cutting runaway Government expenditure as well as increasing compliance on the country’s revenue collection front in order to create an enabling environment for the reintroduction of the local currency.

“A lot needs to be done before the introduction of the Zimbabwean currency, which first of all is fiscal discipline, making sure we bring the budget deficit into single digits and that runaway Government expenditure is curtailed.” he said.

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https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-02-20/zimbabwe-abandons-1-1-peg-between-quasi-currency-and-the-dollar....

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Zimbabwe Devalues Its Quasi-Currency in FX Regime Overhaul

By 
,  , and 
February 20, 2019, 8:44 AM ESTUpdated on February 20, 2019, 1:54 PM EST
  • So-called bond notes to be denominated as electronic currency
  • Central bank introduces interbank foreign-exchange market

Zimbabwe’s government dropped its insistence that a quasi-currency known as bond notes are at par with the dollar as it overhauled foreign-exchange trading and effectively devalued the securities.

The measures are a step toward trying to create a new currency and stabilize Zimbabwe’s economy, which has been plunged into crisis as a shortage of foreign currency stoked the fastest increase in consumer prices in more than a decade and caused shortages of food, fuel and medicine. Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 after inflation spiraled to 500 billion percent, allowing the use of the U.S. dollar and other units as legal tender. Bond notes were introduced in 2016. 

The central bank will immediately establish an interbank foreign-exchange market in which the bond notes will be denominated as electronic money known as RTGS dollars, Governor John Mangudya said at a briefing Wednesday in the capital, Harare. While the government has previously insisted that bond notes and RTGS dollars are worth the same as U.S. dollars, the units currently trade at between 3.66 and 3.8 to the dollar respectively on the black market.

Denominating bond notes as RTGS dollars will “establish an exchange rate between the current monetary balances and foreign currency,” Mangudya said. “The new framework is set to bring certainty, predictability and functionality to the economy’s foreign-exchange market.”

‘Effective Devaluation’

The announcement amounted to an effective devaluation, Harare-based economist John Robertson said. 

He didn’t mention it by name, but they have devalued it,” he said. “We should now see a convergence of a stable rate going forward. Buyers and sellers will now need to meet and agree on a rate.”

Bond notes are worth much less than real dollars in Zimbabwe

Mangudya said that under the new system introduced on Wednesday:

  • RTGS dollars would be used by all entities including the government to price goods and services
  • The use of RTGS dollars would eliminate the existence of a multi-pricing system; prices should either remain at their current levels or decline “in sympathy with the stability in the exchange rate”
  • The central bank has arranged “sufficient lines of credit” to enable it to maintain foreign currency to underpin the exchange rate
  • Foreign currency from the interbank market will be used for foreign-payment invoices

New Currency
 

“It is a small but key step that will support a long road of reforms needed to bring transparency and clarity to the country’s monetary system,” said Chiedza Madzima, a senior analyst at Fitch Solutions in Johannesburg. 

 

The refusal by foreign traders to accept bond notes as legal tender resulted in payment problems for companies such as gold miners and grain millers and exacerbated shortages of raw materials. Shops also charged customers different prices depending on which unit they used to pay, offering discounts as high as 70 percent to those who used real U.S. dollars.

The central bank measures are a step toward Zimbabwe reintroducing its own currency, Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana said by phone. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has said he wants a new currency introduced within a year.

“The move is largely constructive as the government now officially recognizes that U.S. dollars and RTGS$ are not at parity,” Neville Mandimika, an analyst in Johannesburg at FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank, said in response to emailed questions. “The introduction of a Zim dollar will be just in name, but the RTGS$ is essentially the Zim dollar.” 

Ncube has given few details on plans for the new currency, beyond that the central bank was building reserves, which currently cover barely two weeks of imports. He’s also trying to restructure billions of dollars of defaulted multilateral debts so that Zimbabwe can obtain new international loans.

While a new currency is possible, it’s likely to behave the same way bond notes and RTGS dollars did, said Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics and expert on hyperinflation at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Both units depreciated against the dollar after their introduction.

“It would sink like a stone,” he said. “They have created such a mess with the bonds and RTGS dollars. What they should do is get this cancer out of the system.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.timeslive.co.za/amp/news/africa/2019-02-20-new-currency-for-zimbabwe-as......

New currency for Zimbabwe as foreign currency crisis deepens

in News / Africa by RAY NDLOVU
    
announced that the country had ditched the 1:1 ratio between Zimbabwe bond notes and US dollars, a rate maintained by the central bank for nearly three years.
announced that the country had ditched the 1:1 ratio between Zimbabwe bond notes and US dollars, a rate maintained by the central bank for nearly three years. 
Image: Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has introduced a new local currency - “RTGS dollars” - as the country's severe foreign currency crisis persists.

The announcement was made on Wednesday. Mangudya also announced that the country had ditched the 1:1 ratio between Zimbabwe bond notes and US dollars, a rate maintained by the central bank for nearly three years.

Mangudya, who presented the monetary statement after several weeks of delay, also opened up an interbank system where the RTGS dollars would be traded for foreign currency by local banks on “a willing buyer and willing seller basis".

“We say that the RTGS dollars are composed of RTGS balances, bond note and bond coins and are in the basket of currencies which Zimbabweans are using,” Mangudya told the media. 

RTGS stands for "real-time gross settlement" and is the electronic balance in local bank accounts. Last year, the bank ordered the separation of local bank accounts from the nostro accounts that have US dollars.

The central bank chief was non-committal on the exact exchange rate to be used between the US dollars and the RTGS dollars.

Instead, he indicated that the market “would determine” the relative value of the two currencies.

Mangudya said depositors could use their RTGS dollars to buy foreign currency from the banks, a move presumably aimed at choking the lifeblood of the black market, which had become the source of buying the scarce US dollars. It is also meant to avail hard currency to forex-starved companies that have been struggling to import raw materials.

About 100 companies have closed in the 15 months that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been in office. Many of these were too starved of forex to continue operating, according to a tally from the master of the high court in Harare seen by Sunday Times. 

Since November 2016, the rate between the US dollar and the bond note was 1:1, but that value was eroded on the black market by more than four times. Ahead of the monetary policy statement on Tuesday, the US dollar and bond note were trading at 1:4 on the black market.

Economists expected “short-term instability”, which they said was inevitable as a result of the market trying to find a rate.

Ashok Chakravati, an economist in Harare, said the monetary policy was a “courageous move” by the central bank. “It’s a request that has been in the works for many months by companies. It is a sign that this is a listening government and also a listening central bank,” he said.

Ahead of the monetary policy statement there was speculation that a new currency would be introduced.

Neville Mandimika from Rand Merchant Bank said the introduction of a local currency was not a bad thing and in fact was needed.

“The critical issue here is on how it's introduced. There are various steps that must be followed to ensure that the currency will be accepted as a store of value. Of these, the most important is ensuring that the economy has adequate forex reserves, which will act as a shock absorber. At this stage, the reserves simply aren’t there to justify its reintroduction,” said Mandimika in an e-mail.

Zimbabwe's major business associations have been pressing the government either for a local currency to be introduced or for the SA rand to be adopted as a unit of trade.

Some of the other highlights of the monetary policy statement include:

  • effective 25 February, depositors will be able to move US dollars locally between banks under the interbank system;
  • essential imports such as fuel and electricity will continue to have forex allocated by the Forex Allocation Committee;
  • gold producers will keep 55% of their earnings in foreign currency;
  • tobacco and cotton growers will receive 30% of their earnings from crop sales in foreign currency. Tobacco merchants will have 80% of their earnings in foreign currency;
  • All forex holdings will be liquidated within 30 days at the market rate for the day; and
  • a legal instrument will be gazetted that allows for the use of RTGS dollars and all entities, including government and individuals, will recognise the new currency. 
 
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