Is Zimbabwe finally winning the currency war?


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Over the past three months, the Zimbabwean monetary and fiscal authorities have announced various measures to try to halt the depreciation of the Zimbabwean dollar by curbing speculative activity.

The latest of the measures is the introduction of gold coins into the market on 25 July by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the country’s central bank.

According to the RBZ, the coins are an alternative stable investment product for value preservation, which should help to stabilize the exchange rate, and prices to curb inflation.

Announcing his mid-term monetary policy statement last week, RBZ Governor John Mangudya said the central bank was pleased by the uptake of the coins, adding that it plans to release smaller units of gold coins into the market in November this year.

The move is meant to allow ordinary Zimbabweans to buy them since the first coins released last month are exorbitantly priced, he said.

The coins entered the market at US$1 823.83, a figure which is beyond the reach of many.

“Following the successful launch of the gold coins on 25 July 2022, and in response to public demand, the Bank shall introduce and release into the market gold coins in units of a tenth ounce, quarter ounce and half an ounce for sale with effect from mid-November, 2022,” said Mangudya.

He said the features, characteristics, sale terms and conditions of the smaller coins shall remain the same as the current trading arrangements of the gold coins in circulation.

The gold coins have liquid asset status, prescribed asset status, can be tradable and used as collateral, and can be bought back.

Individuals, domestic corporates including institutional investors are allowed to buy the gold coins in both local and foreign currency while international buyers can only buy the coins in foreign currencies that include the US dollar, South African rand and the British pound.

Fluctuations will be experienced in the US dollar and Zimbabwean dollar prices as a result of the movement in the international price of gold and the exchange rate, Mangudya said.

He said the smallest coin, containing just over 3.11 grams of gold, will cost US$188.48 or local currency equivalent at the interbank rate, at one-tenth of the first gold coin released in July.

The coins, also known as the Mosi-Oa-Tunya, which means the Smoke that Thunders in the local language, referring to the Victoria Falls, weigh one troy ounce each with a purity of 22 carats.

Mangudya said the actual price of the small gold coin, when it is introduced, will be the world price of gold for one-tenth of a troy ounce plus a 5 percent minting and distribution fee.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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