RBZ: US$799 million traded via interbank market since inception

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Friday announced that US$799 million has been traded on the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market following the continuous implementation of policies aimed towards improving ease of trade.

In its Monetary Policy Statement released Friday, RBZ governor John Mangudya said the market’s inception was aimed at diluting the parallel market’s impact in determining the exchange rates.

“The introduction of the interbank foreign currency market was meant to address the foreign currency grid-lock arising from widening parallel market activities by harnessing foreign exchange through the formal market.

“As a result, about US$ 799.0 million worth of foreign currency has been traded on the interbank market since its introduction,” Mangudya said in a statement.

However, several companies in the country have since raised concern over challenges in accessing foreign currency from the market.

“Olivine is finding it difficult to access foreign currency as the trade on the interbank market is negligible. Olivine manufactures basic household products like margarine, cooking oil, baked beans and laundry soap and toilet soap. These products are sold on the local market in local currency, but all these products have an import component,” Olivine Industries acting chief executive officer Sylvester Mangani said.

British American Tobacco’s acting managing director, Stephen Nyabadza last month told Business that while there has been some changes towards the interbank market’s efficiency recently, more still needs to be done for companies’ foreign currency needs to be realised.

In his Monetary Policy Statement, Mangudya said the current account deficit has narrowed from a peak of US$2.7 billion in 2011 to US$1.4 billion in 2018 and is projected to further contract to US$597.2 million in 2019.

He said this development augurs well with easing of pressures on the foreign currency demand and exchange rate stability.