Zimbabwe kickstarts Reuters electronic currency trading

The Reuters foreign currency trading platform went live today, marking Zimbabwe’s long-delayed step towards a transparent and effective foreign exchange trading platform.

This also comes as Bureaux de changes are currently signing the code of conduct at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to mark the start of trading through a centralised forex trading system.

According to quotes on the RBZ website, early bids were at 22.6620 against offers of 24.3266 giving a mid-rate of 23.4943. This is a devaluation of 27.28% from yesterday’s rate of 18.4592 and a spread of 1.66. Reports say that RBZ sold at 24.3266 as the rate is expected to move higher to quotes ranging from 33-42 but it would be a managed float. Parallel market rates are currently being quoted between 42-45 and analysts believe that RBZ should just be bold to take the rate to those levels. The ZWL depreciated 37.74% in the month to date.

Last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said the Reuters platform would allow foreign exchange to be traded freely amongst the banks and permit a true market exchange rate to be determined.

The Bureaux de Change, will also participate on this platform through their Authorized Dealers. The trading rules of the Bureaux de Change are being liberalised so that they can conduct all wider range of transactions. The RBZ will continue to be a significant player in the market, providing liquidity to stabilise the exchange rate, where necessary. BDCs will be hosted under Escrow’s C-Pay system. The country has 67 registered Bureaux with 600 branches countrywide. Under the system, BDCs will trade at the open market price.

Agents suspension lifted

The central bank has also lifted the 48-hour suspension on BDC bulk agents after investigations to find out if significant funds had moved possibly to aid the black market.

Ecocash is also expected to configure its system. Last week, Ncube said mobile money platforms would now be subject to limits on bulk player transactions. Additionally, the daily returns being submitted by the mobile platforms to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBZ will be scrutinised very carefully by the Currency Stabilisation Task Force to ensure that all transactions are legitimate and are in accordance with the financial regulations in place.