Zimbabwe running out of cash
After running out of basic foods like bread and milk, Zimbabwe is now running out of bank notes.The story seems to suggest that the current shortfall is cause by the presses switching over to the new zero chopped currency. I think they are bumping up against the limits of their ability to print money which has little value. What a wretched mess Mugabe has made of the former bread basket of Africa.
The soaring inflation rate - the world's highest at 15,000 per cent - means locals are being forced to use more bank notes to buy less.
The largest denomination note, the Z$200,000 bill, is worth about eight pence and the standard unit of exchange is a packet of 100 wrapped in plastic bands.
Cash is in such short supply that ATM withdrawals have been limited to Z$10million (about £4) per person per day and huge queues form outside banks every day.
It is as if Mr Mugabe, having failed to control inflation by neo-communist price controls, has converted to Thatcherite monetarism.
But the reality is more prosaic.
"They can't print it fast enough," said John Robertson, an independent economist in Harare. He suspects the presses are secretly being used for soon-to-be issued Z$500,000 and Z$1million notes.
The government was still driving up the money supply with cheap credit and the absence of goods to buy was fuelling inflation, he said.
"It's just become such an inefficient mess because of incredible shortsightedness on the part of the government," he said.
Update: The BBC reports that Zimbabwe is having difficulty calculating inflation because the shops have too few goods to sale.