RBZ closes Forex platform to stem currency decline

Bloomberg


ZIMBABWEAN authorities shut down a popular black market currency tracking platform, the latest move to try and stop an accelerating decline in its currency.

The central bank has ordered the shutdown of marketwatch.co.zw and other sites that publish the parallel market exchange rate, Governor John Mangudya said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

The website has been used by residents and businesses to guide their currency purchases on the streets of the capital, Harare, which they are forced to resort to when the central bank’s weekly auctions fail to deliver enough to meet demand. .

Zimbabwe is following Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, in accusing online platforms of fueling the collapse of their currencies.

Nigerian authorities last month targeted abokiFX, a platform that tracks the unofficial naira exchange rate, after central bank governor Godwin Emefiele accused the company of manipulating the exchange rate. abokiFX denies any wrongdoing.

“It’s cybercrime,” Mangudya said. “How is the rate determined on the computer?” It’s based on nothing but hot air.

Marketwatch.co.zw was unavailable Wednesday morning, with a notice saying “Sorry, this website is no longer up and running.”

The Zimbabwean dollar weakened 3.2% on Tuesday to 93 per dollar – the biggest drop in 14 months. It has plunged to around 175 to the dollar in the parallel market in recent weeks.

The instability in the forex market is due to relentless money supply growth, increased imports and long settlement times at weekly central bank auctions, the Chamber of Industries of the United States said last week. Zimbabwe.

To stop the currency’s decline, authorities have taken steps including arresting black market traders and launching an investigation into a currency abuse complaint against Simbisa Brands, the largest fast food giant. from the country.

Companies that set their prices using unofficial market rates have been threatened with having their business licenses revoked.

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