The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe released US$10 million worth of a controversial quasi-currency Monday in an attempt to ease the country's liquidity troubles.
The initial release of the so-called bond notes will be "released into the market through normal banking channels in small denominations of $2 and $5," according to a press release from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The new bond notes and coins are pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar. The statement, published on Saturday, detailed that this initial $10 million release would take the form of $2 bond notes and $1 bond coins.
Bond coins first began to be issued in late 2014 in an attempt to ease the country's liquidity crisis.
Zimbabwe's currency collapsed in 2009 following hyperinflation, during which the 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollar note was widely reported to be so worthless that it was unable to cover the cost of a bus ticket. Since the government scrapped the Zimbabwean dollar, a range of currencies are now officially accepted in the country, the most prominent of which is the U.S. dollar.
The country's liquidity issues were partly due to an import/export imbalance. World Bank data chalks Zimbabwe's total imports of goods and services to fall at 48.76 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), whereas its export percentage is recorded to be just 26.25 percent. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's press release, the bond notes are intended "to fund export incentives of up to 5 percent which will be paid to exporters of foods and services and diaspora remittances."
No new accounts will be opened, as the bond notes will be deposited into existing U.S. dollar accounts. Withdrawal limits of bond notes have been set at a maximum of $50 per day and $150 per week.