While others saw an opportunity:

But most were dismayed by the introduction of the bond notes, fearing a return to the days of hyperinflation that led to a worthless currency.

“People are calling it zombie money, because it’s risen from the death of the Zimbabwe dollar and will be about as useful,” a Harare taxi driver told Bloomberg. “We’ll use it to pay fines and bribes to the police.”

Fuel prices saw an 11.3% price difference in the cost of diesel between the US dollar and bond notes, said KPMG. Some large supermarkets also refused to accept the new tender. The reserve banks said the measure was aimed at boosting imports and exports, but it’s unclear how this helps beyond day-to-day transactions.

“I do not think that Zimbabwe has the current internal production or the export market to have a currency that is valued at the same rate as the US dollar,” Muziwethu Mathema, senior economic advisor with KPMG. Mathema, a Zimbabwean living in South Africa, admits he is anxious.

Many Zimbabweans have shared this feeling in the weeks before the notes were introduced. Citizens began to line up outside banks to withdraw US dollars, sleeping overnight in lines if necessary. The fear driving many is that hyperinflation will spiral out of control as it did in 2008, forcing the now defunct Zimbabwean dollar into denominations of 15 zeros as inflation reached an annual rate of 231 million percent.

To prevent a repeat disaster, the reserve bank has committed to limiting circulation of bond notes to $75 million. But the parallel black market need not follow these constraints and hoard the new currency, adversely influencing it’s already precarious valuation.

Coupled with the existing trust deficit in the markets and the public, the nightmare of hyperinflation may return. What’s worse, the level of productivity was probably higher in 2008 than it is today, warns Mathema. Bond notes, he says, will not fix Zimbabwe’s economy. Restoring confidence in the currency will only come if currency is restored in the country.

“The issue is how does Zimbabwe attract the capital and liquidity into its country,” he said. “Basically Zimbabwe needs to posture itself in a manner that is viewed with confidence in the international community.”

That would require political change.

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