Gideon Gono, widely regarded as the world’s most disastrous central banker, knocked another 12 zeros off the Zimbabwean dollar yesterday in an attempt to bring the national currency back from the realms of the fantastical.
In a stroke, the governor of Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank slashed the street value of the Zimbabwean dollar from $250 trillion to one US dollar to 250, because the computers, calculators and people could no longer cope with all the zeros.
To counter an inflation rate that economists now estimate to be 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (five sextillion) per cent, Mr Gono has now struck 25 zeros from the plunging national currency since August 2006. One American dollar would now buy Z$2,500,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000 (2.5 octillion) had he not done so.
Mr Gono’s announcement came just weeks after the introduction of a Z$100 trillion note, the latest and biggest of 35 denominations that he has brought in since January last year but only enough yesterday to buy half a loaf. “The zeros are too many for our machines to handle,” said Obert Sibanda, the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Gono is now ordering Zimbabwe’s red-hot printing presses to produce seven entirely new bank notes ranging from Z$1 to Z$500.
Economists poured scorn on Mr Gono’s announcement, pointing out that four months after he knocked ten noughts off last year they had all returned.