An illegal foreign currency trader counts notes at a local bus station in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
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In Zimbabwe, where worthless $100 trillion notes serve as reminders of the perils of hyperinflation, President Robert Mugabe is printing a new currency that jeopardizes not just the economy but his own long grip on power. Six months ago, the 92-year-old announced plans to address chronic cash shortages by supplementing the dwindling U.S. dollars in circulation over the past seven years with "bond notes," a quasi-currency expected at the end of November.According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the bond notes will be officially interchangeable 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and should ease the cash crunch. The same happened in 2008: Powerful individuals with access to dollars at the official 1:1 rate were able to buy bond notes at a discount on the unofficial market and then convert them back to dollars at face value.The rand and the U.S. dollar have become Zimbabwe's currencies since the local dollar was scrapped in 2009 .Given Zimbabwe's recent history of hyperinflation, the RBZ is keen to allay fears the printing presses are about to go into overdrive, and that the bond notes are a roundabout route to a new Zimbabwe dollar.Other intelligence reports from late September and early October suggested Mugabe was having doubts about the bond notes.
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