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19 Jul 2008 14:33
Zimbabwe, grappling with a record 2,2-million percent inflation, has introduced a new Z$100-billion banknote in a bid to tackle rampant cash shortages, the central bank said on Saturday.
The new note will go into circulation on Monday, the bank said in a statement cited by state media, joining about half-a-dozen new high-denomination notes already issued this year.
In January, a Z$10-million note was issued, then a Z$50-million note in April. In May, notes for Z$100-million and Z$250-million were issued, swiftly followed by those for Z$5-billion, Z$25-billion and Z$50-billion.
The Southern African nation, currently gripped by a post-election crisis, has been ravaged by hyperinflation that shot up from 165 000% in February to 2,2-million percent in June.
Independent economists, however, believe the official inflation figure is grossly understated, estimating it could be running between 10-million and 15-million percent.
Zimbabwe’s chronic economic crisis has left at least 80% of the population living below the poverty threshold and mass shortages of basic goods in shops.—AFP
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