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Zimbabwe Central Bank Seen Constrained In Money-Printing Operations


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's main monetary tool for years has been the printing press as it has churned out ever-higher-denomination notes reflecting hyperinflation that economists now estimate is running as high as 10 million percent a year. But European pressures have cut the RBZ's off from its German banknote paper supplier, limiting its options.

Spokesman Heiko Witzke of Giesecke & Devrient in Munich told VOA reporter Joe De Capua that the German government asked it to stop supplying the special paper to the RBZ in line with a call from the European Union and others to step up sanctions on Harare.

Economist Prosper Chitambara said depriving the central bank of banknote stock will worsen cash shortages as the need increases in Zimbabwe for ever-larger denomination bills.

Chitambara told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the RBZ's move this week to increase the limit on daily bank withdrawals to Z$100 billion from Z$25 billion will only relieve consumers and businesses for a few days.

Zimbabweans say larger withdrawals won't help much given the pace of price rises. Listener Willard of Glen Lorne said authorities should focus on getting food into the shops. Max of Serima, Gutu, said it's getting harder and harder to find staple maize meal.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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