Zim illegal moneychangers back in streets after new currency launched

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HARARE – Zimbabwe’s illegal money changers are back on the streets after a brief hiatus following the introduction of a new gold-backed currency, the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG).

Although the currency is still only available electronically as the new notes and coins are still under production, the money changers are offering slightly higher rates than the official one, which was $1 to 13.3437 ZiG on Wednesday, according to ZB Financial Holdings.

The black market is, however, offering about 15 ZiG (buy rate) and around 20 ZiG (sell rate) to the US dollar, according to money changers.

A money changer at the Westgate Shopping Mall, northwest of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, said he and his colleagues were always on the lookout for the police as they conducted their transactions.

“Our selling rate is $1 to 20 or 21 ZiG depending on the amount transacted, and our buying rate is between 15 and 16 ZiG to the U.S. dollar, also depending on the amount transacted. Those disposing of higher amounts get more favorable rates,” he said.