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Zimbabweans Chase Prices Into Stratosphere With Z$500 Million Note


In a by-now-familiar sequence, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced new bank notes in high denominations of up to Z$500 million, setting off another surge in prices for ordinary goods as consumers rushed to spend their money before it depreciated further.

The central bank in rapid sequence increased the daily limit in cash withdrawals from banks to Z$500 million a week and rolled out notes for Z$200 million and Z$500 million.

As of Friday the Z$500 million note was worth about 10 U.S. dollars.

The Z$100 million note issued on Dec. 4 was worth US$14 at the time but late this week had an equivalent value of less than 50 U.S. cents, AFP reported.

The last official measure of inflation put it at 231 million percent in July, but some economists estimate the annual rate of increase in prices to be running in the hundreds of billions.

Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe said a doughnut that cost Z$25 million at midday on Friday cost Z$100 million by evening, while the exchange rate for U.S. dollars surged to $50 million Zimbabwe dollars to the greenback.

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

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