A major currency overhaul in Venezuela is due to come into effect Monday, with critics of the move fearful it will exacerbate hyperinflation in the crisis-stricken country.
In a radical attempt to end a prolonged period of economic turmoil in the oil-rich, but cash-poor nation, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Friday that his socialist administration would issue new banknotes after lopping five zeroes off the beleaguered bolivar.
The move effectively devalues Venezuela's currency by around 96 percent, with the bolivar set to go from about 285,000 per dollar to 6 million. Other measures announced in Maduro's speech to the nation last week included highly-subsidized gas prices, a higher corporate tax rate and a massive minimum wage increase.
Economists say that by introducing the proposed measures, Maduro's administration is only likely to make matters worse. Caracas' cash-strapped government has recently defaulted on its bondholders and is currently facing the prospect of further U.S. sanctions.