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Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe was a period of currency instability that began in the late s shortly after the confiscation of private farms from landowners, towards the end of Zimbabwean involvement in the Second Congo War. During the height of inflation from to , it was difficult to measure Zimbabwe's hyperinflation because the government of Zimbabwe stopped filing official inflation statistics.
However, Zimbabwe's peak month of inflation is estimated at In , Zimbabwe stopped printing its currency, with currencies from other countries being used. The Rhodesian Dollar was replaced by the Zimbabwean dollar at par value. When Zimbabwe gained independence, the newly introduced Zimbabwean dollar was initially more valuable than the US dollar at the official exchange rates,this did not reflect reality as in terms of purchasing power on the open and black markets it was less valuable, due primarily to the higher inflation in Zimbabwe.
Wheat production for non-drought years was proportionally higher than in the past. The tobacco industry was thriving as well. Economic indicators for the country were strong. In the late s, the government instituted land reforms intended to evict white landowners and place their holdings in the hands of black farmers. However, many of these "farmers" had no experience or training in farming. The banking sector also collapsed, with farmers unable to obtain loans for capital development.
A monetarist view  is that a general increase in the prices of things is less a commentary on the worth of those things than on the worth of the money. This has objective and subjective components:. Crucial to both components is discipline over the creation of additional money. However, the Mugabe government was printing money to finance involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, in , in the Second Congo War , including higher salaries for army and government officials.
Another motive for excessive money creation has been self-dealing. Transparency International ranks Zimbabwe's government th of  in terms of institutionalised corruption. Economic mis-steps by government can create shortages and occupy people with workarounds rather than productivity.
Though this harms the economy, it does not necessarily undermine the value of the currency, but may harm confidence in the future. Widespread poverty and violence, including government violence to stifle political opposition, also undermines confidence in the future. Manufacturing and mining also declined. An objective reason was, again, that farms were put in the hands of inexperienced people; and subjectively, that the move undermined the security of property.
Government instability and civic unrest were evident in other areas. Conflicts between the Ndebele ethnic minority and Mugabe's majority Shona people have led to many clashes,  and there is also unrest between blacks and whites, in which the land reform was a factor.
An aspect of this reform that seeks to bar whites from business ownership induced many to leave the country. In Zimbabwe, neither the issuance of banknotes of higher denominations nor proclamation of new currency regimes led holders of the currency to expect that the new money would be more stable than the old. Remedies announced by the government never included a believable basis for monetary stability. Over the course of the five-year span of hyperinflation, the inflation rate fluctuated greatly.
At one point, the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe predicted that it would reach 1. In June the annual rate of price growth was The worst of the inflation occurred in , leading to the abandonment of the currency.
As hyperinflation accelerated, the value of the Zimbabwe dollar declined fast against other currencies, yet official exchange rates published by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe were infrequently updated; this made it impossible to tell from an official source how much the Zimbabwe dollar was really worth against other currencies on a particular day, which in turn disrupted international business transactions involving Zimbabwe dollars.
The Old Mutual Implied rate was widely adopted benchmark rate for unofficial currency exchange until intervention by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in May to prohibit the transfer of shares in Old Mutual, ABC and Kingdom Meikles Africa out of the country, therefore stopping their fungibility. In , the government declared inflation illegal.
Anyone who raised the prices for goods and services was subject to arrest. This amounted to a price freeze , which is usually ineffective in halting inflation. In December , the Central Bank of Zimbabwe licensed around 1, shops to deal in foreign currency. Many businesses and street vendors continued to do so without getting the license.
In January , acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa lifted the restriction to use only Zimbabwean dollars [ citation needed ].
This too acknowledged what many were already doing. Citizens were allowed to use the US dollar, the euro , and the South African rand.
However, teachers and civil servants were still being paid in Zimbabwean dollars. Prices in shops and restaurants were still quoted in Zimbabwean dollars, but were adjusted several times a day.
Any Zimbabwean dollars acquired needed to be exchanged for foreign currency on the parallel market immediately,  or the holder would suffer a significant loss of value. For example, a mini-bus driver charged riders in Zimbabwean dollars, but different rates throughout the day: The evening commute was highest-priced.
He sometimes exchanged money three times a day, not in banks but in back office rooms and parking lots. Such business venues constituted a black market , an arena explicitly outside the law. Transactors could evade the price freezes and the mandate to use Zimbabwean dollars. The black market served the demand for daily goods such as soap and bread, as grocery stores operating within the law no longer sold items whose prices were strictly controlled, or charged customers more if they were paying in Zimbabwean dollars.
At independence in , the Zimbabwe dollar became the common currency. The government did not attempt to fight inflation with fiscal and monetary policy.
In , before hyperinflation reached its peak, the bank announced it would print larger bills to buy foreign currencies. On three occasions, the Central Bank of Zimbabwe redenominated the currency. First, in August , the Central Bank recalled notes in exchange for new notes with three zeros slashed from the currency. A third redenomination, producing the "fourth Zimbabwe dollar," occurred in February , and dropped 12 more zeros from the currency. The same was true for businesses as well and all traders.
A solution effectively adopted by Zimbabwe is to adopt some foreign currency as official. To facilitate commerce, it is less important which currency is adopted than that the government standardise on a single currency. The US dollar, the euro, and the South African rand were candidates; the US dollar had the most credibility and was the most widely traded within Zimbabwe.
In , the government abandoned printing Zimbabwean dollars at all. Since then Zimbabwe has used a combination of foreign currencies, mostly US dollars. The coins extend the use of the dollar as a de facto currency, and indeed the National Bank has repeatedly assured that it does not intend to bring back a national currency. Some citizens disputed this, saying the error was now returning and they would not accept the bond notes.
In June , the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said it would begin a process to "demonetise" i. The plan was to have completed the switch to the US dollar by the end of September From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved 11 July Archived from the original on 11 July Retrieved 2 February Retrieved 17 April Retrieved August 5, Retrieved 19 April International Economics; Theory and Policy. Inflation Soars to Million Percent". The Economist Newspaper Limited. Retrieved 18 June The Flight of the Phoenix: The New York Times.
Retrieved 4 May Econet Subscribers Caught Unawares allAfrica. Retrieved 6 December Retrieved 15 April Retrieved 25 November Retrieved 13 April Archived from the original on 27 August Retrieved 7 April Retrieved 10 February Retrieved 25 February Retrieved from " https: Man-made disasters in Zimbabwe Economic history of Zimbabwe Inflation by country s in Zimbabwe s in Zimbabwe s economic history s economic history.