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Despite Introduction Of Z$10 Million Note, Zimbabwe Bank Lines Persist

Zimbabwe's central bank issued new bank notes in denominations of up to $10 million on Friday but the infusion of large denomination notes did not immediately relieve the country's cash crisis as long lines remained in place at banks nationwide.

As promised earlier in the week by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, financial institutions received shipments of bearer cheques - central bank promissory notes, in effect - in denominations of Z$1 million, Z$5 million and Z$10 million (US$5).

The Reserve Bank issued notes in denominations of Z$250,000, Z$500,000 and Z$250,000 in December, which did little to resolve widespread cash shortages. Many economists said the central bank needed to dramatically scale up note values.

On Friday, demand outstripped supplies of the new notes, which some banks did not receive until late in the day, and customers were obliged to continue waiting in lines to withdraw cash. Sources in second-city Bulawayo reported similar conditions.

Bank employee Edward Karimupfumbi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the crunch could soon ease as many customers were seizing the opportunity to withdraw all their money, so if queues remain they may be shorter.

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