Top Economist Predicts Sharp Rise In Inflation, Exchange Rates By June 2023
Economic commentator Gift Mugano has predicted that Zimbabwe’s annual inflation will be 400% with the exchange rate likely hitting ZWL$1500: US$1 by June this year.
The Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading at ZWD$1.100 to the USD on the black market, reported NewZimbabwe.com.
Year-on-year inflation was also the highest in the world at 255% in November last year.
Responding to claims by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya, that the country’s de-dollarisation was on course, Mugano said on the contrary, the central bank’s policies are driving dollarisation.
He argued that chronic inflation and the 200 percent interest rate are some of the main drivers of dollarisation. Said Mugano:
I am still convinced that the following remains our economic outlook by June 2023; annual inflation of 400% and exchange rate ZW$1500/US$1.
… we have deepened dollarisation. The main drivers of dollarisation are chronic inflation, 200% interest rate, excess liquidity caused by Treasury and domestic export retention as well as high export retention.
With a 200% interest rate, businesses have switched to USD loans since it has virtually become impossible to pay back loans fourfold.
The 20% domestic export retention and 40% export retention compels RBZ to print ZWL in exchange for the 20% domestic deposits and 40 percent export receipts.
RBZ does not have a budget set aside for this. This drives up money supply. In August and September 2022, money supply rose by $708 bn excess liquidity driven by the treasury.
Mugano noted that excessive liquidity driven by treasury is driving inflation and de-dollarisation cannot be achieved in such an environment. He said:
Excessive liquidity driven by treasury – without going far, in December 2022, treasury irresponsibly made last-minute payments to Ministries and government departments’ requests thereby putting the rate into disarray.
The Treasury could have staggered these payments during the course of the year.
Inflation and de-dollarisation can only happen when the country attains single-digit inflation and exchange rates are stable.
This will cultivate a productive culture which is key to supporting the local currency. This is missing. We have chronic inflation and volatile exchange rates.
To further prove his point that the economy is dollarising, Mugano pointed to the sudden decline of allotment from the RBZ’s auction system. He said:
The auction system allotment is an interesting one. In 2022 imports surged to above US$ 8.2 billion (exceeding 2021 imports by US$1 billion) but the USD allotted to firms declined from US$42 million per week to US$11 million.
So imports are increasing but the forex given by the RBZ to firms to support imports is falling.
It tells you one thing, firms are now relying on their own generated forex from local sales to meet their import requirements.
This means that we have deepened dollarisation.