By Alois Vinga
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) allotments Tuesday reached the highest ever US$36.3 million with priority going towards boosting industrial productivity growth through support on raw materials and machinery needs.
An update released at the close of business shows that 276 bids on the main auction saw US$15.6 million was allotted for raw material needs, machinery and equipment.
US$3.9 million was allotted for consumables, US$2.9 million (services US$2.3 million), retail and distribution (US$3.1 million, among other key allotments.
A total US$33.7 million was allotted on the main auction.
On the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) platform, allotments towards raw materials received support to the tune of US$602 842, machinery and equipment US$507 883, consumables US$520 178, services US$328 141, retail and distribution, US$265 000 among others.
A total US$2.6 million was allotted towards SMEs and on both auction platforms, raw materials received the highest allotments indicating the central bank’s priority to boost local productivity while reducing the current import bill which is bleeding the economy’s scarce foreign currency.
Notably, the Zim dollar exchange rate slightly weakened and stood at $83.37 against the US$1.
On both platforms, the highest bid rate reached $89 and a low of $82.
The parallel market however remains subdued as illegal dealers are struggling to push high volumes as well as shaking the stability achieved by the auction system.
Despite the current challenges, economic analysts are optimistic that the current exchange rate stability, increased foreign currency allotments on the auction coupled with expected bumper harvests in sight following a good rainy season will bolster local manufacturing sector.