Zimbabwe’s central bank to meet retailers over rising prices

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By Bloomberg News

Zimbabwe central bank officials plan to meet retailers on Tuesday over price hikes, the Sunday Mail reported.

The bank’s investigative arm, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), will meet retailers and manufacturers to address price increases, the newspaper said.

The meeting comes against the backdrop of concerns that some firms are drawing funds from the central bank’s weekly foreign exchange auction but pegging prices to black market currency rates, according to the Sunday Mail. That’s helping to fuel price rises for consumers.

After the meeting, an “intensive blitz” is planned by the unit and police to identify and take legal measures against the culprits, the newspaper quotes Oliver Chiperesa, the FIU’s director-general, as saying.

The Zimbabwean dollar is the worst performing currency in Africa and has weakened 72% against the greenback in 2022. It officially trades at Z$391/$, but is weaker on the parallel market, where it’s quoted at between Z$600/$ to Z$800/$.

Measures to protect the currency have included lifting interest rates to 200% — the world’s highest. Annual inflation in the country surged to 192% in June, a 13-month high.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube warned last week that retailers risk losing their operating licences should they refuse to accept local currency for purchases.