Pictures from Zimbabwe

Just because “Spanish banks are fine” 12 days before they got a full-blown bailout, and global hyperinflation can never happen in this world, where every central planner is now preparing to hold the CTRL and P buttons until the bitter end, here are some pictures from Zimbabwe.


And some charts:


And the chart most familiar to Americans as at least when it comes to government debt, Zimbabwe is America.

But don’t worry. The USD will never lose its reserve status. Oh wait…

Finally, a timeline:

  • April 1980
    • The (first) Zimbabwean dollar replaces the Rhodesian dollar at par, which buys US$1.54. A series of bank notes is issued, ranging from Z$2 to Z$20.
  • From 1994 to 2006
    • The Reserve Bank issues a new series of notes, from Z$2 to Z$100. As inflation rises and erodes the currency’s purchasing power, Z$500 and Z$1,000 banknotes are issued from 2001 to 2005. In the first half of 2006, new Z$50,000 and Z$100,000 denominations debut.
  • Aug. 1, 2006
    • The first currency reform is implemented in an effort to contain spiraling inflation. The Zimbabwean dollar is redenominated by lopping off three zeros from the old currency. The new (second) Zimbabwean dollar is revalued at one new dollar = 1,000 old
  • July 1, 2007
    • The Z$500,000 note is introduced, valued at about US$16 at the official exchange rate.
  • Dec. 31, 2007
    • The Z$750,000 (US$25) note begins circulation.
  • Jan 1, 2008
    • The Z$1 million, Z$5 million and Z$10 million denominations debut.
  • April 2, 2008
    • Z$25 million and Z$50 million bills are introduced. Prices of basic goods are in millions—a T-shirt costs Z$276.5 million, pants Z$2.75 billion. Tomatoes and other local produce are priced in millions.
  • At a restaurant, two beers and water cost Z$1.24 billion.
  • May 2, 2008
    • The Z$100 million, Z$250 million and Z$500 million notes debut. Annual inflation reaches more than 100,000 percent.
  • May 15, 2008
    • Z$5 billion, Z$25 billion and Z$50 billion notes are printed.
  • July 1, 2008
    • A Z$100 billion note is issued, about the price of three eggs at the time.
  • Aug. 1, 2008
    • Another round of currency reforms is implemented. The government slashes 10 zeros from each second Zimbabwean dollar bill and the third Zimbabwean dollar is valued at 10 billion old dollars (second Zimbabwean dollars). Inflation continues rising.
  • Sept. 29, 2008
    • New Z$10,000 and Z$20,000 notes are introduced.
  • Oct. 13, 2008
    • The new Z$50,000 bill is printed.
  • Nov. 5, 2008
    • Z$100,000 and Z$500,000 notes are issued.
  • Dec. 4, 2008
    • The Z$1 million, Z$10 million, Z$50 million and Z$100 million bills appear. Ten days later, the Z$200 million and Z$500 million banknotes debut, followed by the Z$1 billion, Z$5 billion and Z$10 billion notes issued on Dec. 19, 2008.
  • Jan. 12, 2009
    • The government issues two new denominations: Z$20 billion and Z$50 billion bills.
  • Jan. 16, 2009
    • Even higher denominations are issued: Z$10 trillion, Z$20 trillion, Z$50 trillion bills and the largest banknote ever—the Z$100 trillion bill.
  • Feb. 3, 2009
    • The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduces the fourth Zimbabwean dollar, with 12 zeros removed from old bills, making 1 trillion old dollars equal to one new dollar. Denominations of the new currency are the Z$1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 notes. However, loss of confidence quickly leads to abandonment of the Zimbabwean dollar in favor of foreign currencies, primarily the U.S. dollar and the South African rand.


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