Zimbabwe Central Bank Raises Key Rate to 200%

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Zimbabwe’s central bank raised interest rates to a record and the government officially reintroduced the US dollar as legal currency to rein in surging inflation and stabilize the nation’s tumbling exchange rate, Bloomberg News reported. The monetary policy committee more than doubled the key rate to 200% from 80%, Governor John Mangudya said in a statement on Monday. That brings the cumulative increase this year to 14,000 basis points -- the most globally. “The monetary policy committee expressed great concern on the recent rise in inflation,” Mangudya said. “The committee noted that the increase in inflation was undermining consumer demand and confidence and that, if not controlled, it would reverse the significant economic gains achieved over the past two years.” Central bankers globally have been unleashing what may prove to be the most aggressive tightening of monetary policy since the 1980s to contain runaway inflation, prevent capital outflows and currency weakness as investors hunt for higher yields. Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate jumped to the highest level in over a year in June as food costs more than tripled. The increase in prices has been spurred by a sharp depreciation in the Zimbabwe dollar, which has lost more than two-thirds of its value this year and is Africa’s worst-performing currency. Read more.