Zimbabwe bank machines empty as currency imports dwindle

Zimbabwean banks are suffering cash shortages as they halt imports of foreign currency while fewer people are depositing savings because of concern over financial security, a treasury official said.

Many institutions are limiting withdrawals from Automated Teller Machines as a result of the shortages, said the official, who asked not to be identified in line with the Treasury’s policy.

Zimbabwe relies on foreign currency, mostly dollars, after abandoning its own dollar in 2009 after the International Monetary Fund estimated that inflation had reached 500 billion percent. Economic growth is slowing and a fall in consumer demand is causing deflation.

“It’s not all banks which are affected by the shortages,” Sam Malaba, the president of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, said by phone. “It won’t be fair to comment on behalf of all banks.”

Among banks that operate in Zimbabwe are units of Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc.

– Bloomberg