THAT the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya must stop printing money and creating Real-Time Gross Settlement balances is beyond debate and a foregone conclusion for many.
Forex dealers with wads of crisp bond notes at almost every corner of Harare’s central business district bear testimony to the fact that the central bank has flooded the market with the currency.
Promoted as the United States unit’s equal in terms of value and backed by a US$200 million Afreximbank facility, the pseudo-currency is driving inflation.
Figures obtained from the central bank show that Mangudya has indeed been running the press with reckless abandon.
According to the central bank’s May report, broad money supply increased sharply from the same period last year when it stood at US$6,2 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 38%.
This comes as the value of bond notes increased by 101% from US$175 million in May 2017 to US$354 million in May 2018, surpassing the US$200 million Afreximbank facility backing the currency.
Just last month, he indicated that the figure of bond notes in circulation had increased to US$390 million.
“The Reserve Bank has injected more cash into the banking sector, therefore, those people who are selling cash at 100% would soon count their losses. If they are being encouraged by politicking, they are going to lose money. This week alone (last week) we have injected US$25 million and next week (this week) we are putting US$30 million, so this month we are saying we have increased it from US$100 million to US$150 million, therefore there is no logic for prices to go up when there is more money in the economy,” he said last month.
“Bond notes in the market right now is about $390 million … Whenever we release money like what we are doing, some of the money remains in the banks and some of the money is captured by people in circulation. So when we talk about money, do not look at the money at the banks only, talk about the money in the economy — that is more important. Not money in the vault (bank vaults). In this economy, there is more than US$2,5 billion in circulation, cash, then you now add money at the banks which is about US$500 million.
Bond, as I said, is US$390 million, but if you go to the banks they will tell you they have got US$20 million with them which means the money is in the market which is why people then sell money.”
Zimbabwe’s beleaguered economy is crying out for prudent management.
Already, the premium between the US dollar and the bond notes has widened to as much as 60%. Since the introduction of the bond notes, much to the chagrin of ordinary Zimbabweans who have previously borne the brunt of hyperinflation, prices have been rising again.
If Mangudya does not act on the money supply issue, Zimbabweans must be ready to experience the loss of value that comes with hyperinflation. The official inflation rate at 4,29% is not a correct reflection of the situation on the ground.
We need a better way.