Zimbabwe: Foreign Currency Deposits Rise to $102 Billion Amid Sustained Stability

Zimbabwe passport.

Total foreign currency deposits rose to an equivalent $102 billion on the backdrop of sustained exchange rate stability brought about by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) auction system.

The auction system was incepted in the second half of 2020 as a formal foreign currency trading platform.

Since then, many companies and business groups have applauded the auction for bringing about exchange rate stability and long-term business predictability.

Details contained in the latest RBZ monthly economic review for the period of November 2020 show a rising trajectory in the deposits cluster.

"The foreign currency component of total deposits increased from $11.47 billion in November 2019 to $102.19 billion as at end November 2020.

"The growth partly reflected valuation changes due to the exchange rate movement, from $16.26 per US$1 in November 2019 to $81.82 per US$1 in November 2020," the report indicated.

Local currency deposits also registered a year-on-year growth of 316 %, while currency in circulation also increased by 27 % on an annual basis.

During the month of November 2020, broad money stood at $184.35 billion in November 2020, an increase of 8.59% from $169.77 billion recorded in October 2020.

The money stock (M3) consisted largely of foreign currency deposits, $102.19 billion constituting 55.43% of total, while local currency transferrable deposits amounted to $70.86 billion constituting 38.44%; time deposits, $9 billion constituting 5 %; negotiable certificates of deposits $1.24 billion 0.67% and currency in circulation $1.07 billion constituting 0.58%.

A similar growth pattern was observed in the previous month of October 2020 where foreign currency component of total deposits increased from $11.16 billion in October 2019 to $98 billion.

Consistent with demand for money in the economy, local currency deposits registered a year-on-year growth of 316.67%, while currency in circulation also increased by 48.59%, on an annual basis.

The growth also largely reflected valuation changes due to exchange rate movement.

Analysing the trends, renowned economist Doctor Prosper Chitambara attributed the increases to policy certainty.

"Lately, there has been clear certainty with regards to the value of the Zim-dollar against the United States dollar, which was not there before the inception of the auction system.

"However, the surge could also be attributed to the fear of the unknown by the banking public hence the need to hedge against such risks by keeping their deposits in the US$," he said.

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