HARARE, July 19, 2008 (AFP) – Zimbabwe, grappling with a record 2.2 million percent inflation, has introduced a new 100-billion-dollar bank note in a bid to tackle rampant cash shortages, the central bank said Saturday. The new note will go into circulation on Monday, the bank said in a statement cited by state media, joining about half a dozen new high denomination notes already issued this year.
In January, a 10-million-dollar note was issued, then a 50-million-dollar note in April.
In May, notes for 100 million and 250 million dollars were issued, swiftly followed by those for five billion, 25 billion and 50 billion.
The southern African nation, currently gripped by a post-election crisis, has been ravaged by hyperinflation which shot up from 165,000 percent in February to 2.2 million in June.
Independent economists however believe the official inflation figure is grossly understated, estimating it could be running between 10 million and 15 million percent.
Zimbabwe’s chronic economic crisis has left at least 80 percent of the population living below the poverty threshold and mass shortages of basic goods in shops.