The bond note that had been on a free fall on the parallel market before beginning a steady rise at the end of November, continued to firm and hold against the United States Dollar.
Traders at the usual points in Harare, were yesterday paying between $1,10 and $1,15 of the local unit for every US$1 while demanding between $1,15 and $1,20 bond for every US$1. The transfer rate is hovering between 55 and 70 percent.
Yesterday’s rates are a sharp decline from about $1,25 of the bond, which traders were demanding at the end of September, a situation that had literally eroded the value of workers’ salaries and also seen prices sky rocket as businesses claimed they were responding to the value of the green back on the parallel market.
“The bond is firming but for me I am not worried for as long as there is a discrepancy between the two because I had not hoarded,” said an illegal trader who operates at Eastgate Shopping Mall at the intersection of Robert Mugabe Road and Sam Nujoma Street who, however, declined to be named.
“The challenge is on those that hoarded the greenback when the premium was high with the hope of a higher return as they anticipated a crush of the bond,” she said. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya, has been consistent that the currency speculation will soon end as it is not backed by economic fundamentals.
“We urge the market and the nation to be patient as the economy recovers on the back of rising exports and the nostro stabilisation facility, which we have begun to draw down therefore we expect the premium (being charged by illegal dealers) to hold and continue to decrease,” said Dr Mangudya.
A combination of factors have been credited with the firming of the bond among them the fact that some depositors managed to withdraw US Dollars from ATMs ahead of the holiday. The high number of Diaspora based Zimbabweans, who are returning home for the Christmas holiday, has also increased liquidity levels as most of them carry cash.
Immigration authorities have noted that there has been an increase at Zimbabwe’s largest port of entry, Beitbridge Border Post, with average clearances having risen to about 25 000 people daily, from the 12 000 off peak levels.
The continued firming of the bond note towards the initial $1 bond for every US$1 rate under which the former was introduced by the RBZ as an export incentive, is set to restore savings’ value as well as salaries. A corresponding decline and readjusting of prices is also expected as the basis on which the prices had been sky rocketing is now self-correcting.
In his State of The Nation Address on December 20, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, appealed to local business and industry to desist from wanton price hikes as this has the potential to embolden those calling for the repealing of local industry protecting policies in favour of cheaper imports.
“In the last few weeks the country has witnessed rampant increases in the prices of goods and services,” said the President.
“I appeal, yet again, to our business community, to show restraint and avoid wanton hiking of prices bearing in mind the fact that such actions raise the appeal of cheaper imports, which has the effect of undermining current efforts to develop our local industry,” he said.