EXCHANGE RATE SLASHED
CASH dealers are selling bond notes at a premium rate of 22% to buyers using EcoCash in the high-density Harare suburb of Mbare, which is the lowest rate on offer thus far.
In a snap survey conducted by NewsDay at Mupedzanhamo on Saturday, cash dealers were selling freshly minted bond notes to cash buyers at low premium market rates.
The 22% rate is fairly lower than the 50% to 60% rates currently charged by cash dealers in Harare’s central business district (CBD) for bond notes to those using EcoCash transfers.
“They are offering a 20% rate if you want bond coins and 22% if you want bond notes. The money looks so new as if it is coming straight from the bank,” one woman, who had just completed a transaction, said.
NewsDay found that the majority of the cash dealers, who were still just a few, do their business in front of the dilapidated Matapi Flats, which are opposite Mupedzanhamo.
Upon interrogating this new crop of cash dealers on where the money was coming from, they were dismissive and declined to comment.
However, from the few people who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity, the paper gathered that the cash dealers were trying to take advantage of the high traffic visiting Mupedzanhamo.
As elections draw nearer, parallel market rates have been fluctuating, with the parallel market rates for the United States dollar hitting 100% when either using EcoCash or bank transfers to purchase the greenback.
Parallel market rates for bond notes ranged from 70% to 80% at the time for EcoCash or bank transfer rates.
Currently, the rates are pegged at between 80% and 85% in the Harare CBD for the greenback for those with bond notes.
Recently, central bank governor John Mangudya said “the major users of foreign currency have been provided foreign currency and also letters of credit for them to import all the essentials, so there is no reason why the rates should, therefore, go up again when demand for foreign currency is being met through these interventions that we have done”.
“Therefore, there are people who are out there who are trying to send panic and despondency in the economy,” he said.
The lender of last resort boss added that those who were selling foreign currency at ridiculous rates were going to regret “because people are just making money out of them, it is just arbitrage”.
He based this on the fact that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was now going to inject $150 million a month into the economy, up from $100 million previously o cash buyers at low premium market rates.