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Zimbabwe to Introduce 50 Cent Bond Coins

FILE: A shop worker arranges packaged meat at a leading supermarket in Harare January 16, 2012. Zimbabwe's headline consumer inflation rate quickened to 4.9 percent year-on-year in December, higher than government's year-end target for 2011.

Day-to-day transactions for Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped population is about to get even a little easier.

The country’s reserve bank governor, John Mangudya, says he will soon be rolling out 50-cent bond coins, to add to the one, five, ten and 25-cent coins introduced two months ago.

The move is aimed at boosting price competitiveness, while allowing customers to receive change in currency, as opposed to candy or other non-monetary commodity.

Mangudya, however, was quick to shoot down speculation that the coins – worth $5 million – signal a much-feared return of the Zimbabwe dollar, abandoned in early 2009.

Mangudya said the bond coins will benefit Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe has since adopted a multi-currency system, recognizing the US dollar, British-pound, South African rand, Chinese yuan, among others, as an official mode of exchange.

Speculation about a return of the Zimbabwe dollar has been rife for the past six years owing to the shortage of foreign currency.

The multi-currency system is dependent on the inflow of cash from abroad, and the economy’s massive current account deficit translates into outflows depleting the local money supply.