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Two Billion Zimbabwe Dollars For a Loaf of Bread As Hyperinflation Surges

Zimbabwe's beleaguered consumers have witnessed massive increases in the prices of basic foodstuffs and other commodities following the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's introduction late last week of new notes in denominations of Z$1 billion, Z$5 billion and Z$10 billion.

The central bank also increased the monthly bank cash withdrawal limit for individuals to $10 billion in response to pressure from trade unions that it allow workers to access all of their funds, and rampages by disgruntled soldiers turned away from bank cash windows.

Sources in Harare said a loaf of bread was going for between $2 billion and 2.5 billion dollars. A kilogram of meat on fetched five U.S. dollars - the equivalent of Z$45-55 billion dollars at the prevailing street exchange rate of Z$9-11 billion dollars per greenback.

Commuter omnibus operators were demanding Z$2 billion or much-sought-after gasoline coupons for a ride from the Harare city center to Highfield and other inner suburbs.

Soaring prices for food have increased reliance on imports and remittances in cash and kind from relatives living in the so-called diaspora in South Africa in particular.

Makomborero Chikwezeze, a Zimbabwean in Johannesburg, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri he has resorted to sending groceries back home to make sure his family survives.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...