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Zimbabwe central bank to release smaller gold coins for affordability by ordinary Zimbabweans

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya displays the newly introduced gold coin during a press conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 25, 2022. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

Zimbabwe will release smaller units of gold coins into the market in November this year to respond to public demand, in a move seen to tackle the country's currency crisis through exchange rate stabilization.

HARARE, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the central bank, has said it would release smaller units of gold coins into the market in November this year in response to public demand and to allow ordinary Zimbabweans to buy them.

The RBZ introduced gold coins into the market in July this year as a store of value amid rising inflation and rapid depreciation of the local currency. The coins entered the market at 1,823.83 U.S. dollars apiece, a figure which is far much higher to be afforded by many Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe's newly introduced gold coin is pictured in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 25, 2022. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

"Following the successful launch of the gold coins on 25 July 2022 and in response to public demand, the Bank shall introduce and release into the market gold coins in units of a tenth ounce, quarter ounce and half an ounce for sale with effect from mid-November 2022," RBZ Governor John Mangudya said in his mid-term monetary policy statement released Thursday.

Mangudya said the features, characteristics and sale terms and conditions shall remain the same as the current trading arrangements of the gold coins in circulation.

Among other characteristics, the gold coins have liquid asset status, prescribed asset status, can be tradable and be used as collateral, and can be bought back at the instance of the holder.

Individuals, domestic corporates including institutional investors are allowed to buy the gold coins in both local and foreign currency while international buyers can only buy the coins in foreign currencies that include the U.S. dollar, South African Rand and the British Pound.

The smallest coin, containing just over 3.11 grams of gold, will cost 188.48 U.S. dollars or local currency equivalent at the interbank rate, at one-tenth of the price of the first gold coin released in July, also known as the "Mosi-Oa-Tunya," which weighs one troy ounce with a purity of 22 carats.

Mosi-oa Tunya, which means the "Smoke that thunders" in the local language, refers to the Victoria Falls on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The actual price when it is introduced will be the world price of gold for one-tenth of a troy ounce plus a 5 percent minting and distribution fee.

The introduction of the gold coins is part of the central bank's measures to tackle the country's currency crisis through exchange rate stabilization. ■