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From the LA Times:
Lack of bank note paper threatens Zimbabwe economy
The country, already suffering hyperinflation, is on the brink of financial collapse, analysts say.
HARARE, ZIMBABWE — It has come to this: Zimbabwe is about to run out of the paper to print money on.
Fidelity Printers & Refiners, the state-owned company that tirelessly churns out bank notes for the Robert Mugabe regime, was thrown into a crisis early this month after a German company stopped supplying bank note paper because of concerns over Zimbabwe’s recent violent presidential election, widely seen as fraudulent by international observers.
The printing operation drastically slowed. Two-thirds of the 1,000-strong workforce was ordered to go on leave, and two of the three money-printing shifts were canceled.
The result on the streets was an immediate cash crunch.
“If you think this currency shortage is bad, wait two weeks. By then it will be a disaster,” said a senior Fidelity staffer, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because he would face dismissal and possible violence for talking to a Western journalist. The paper will run out in two weeks, he said.
The Zimbabwe dollar (Z$) has the dubious honor of being the world’s current Least Valued Currency Unit, currently over Z$200 billion per weakened, flailing US$, and with an exchange rate rising at billions per day.
Folks must be looking back fondly to just a few months ago when a beer went for a very reasonable Z$95.6 million…
As usual in the tame media, the timid approach to the cause of the phenomenon is buried at the end:
Everyone at Fidelity Printers knows the money printing is propping up Mugabe, the staffer said.
People read this, and think that inflation is some sort of natural disaster, like a tornado or earthquake, something that just “happens” to an economy. It is not. The money isn’t “propping up” Mugabe, it’s a symptom of Mugabe and his cronies stealing as much of the economy as they can get their hands on.
I could go on, but I don’t really expect anything more from the LA Times.