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Zimbabweans turn towards black market as inflation rises

Acustomer buying goods at a shop in Harare   -  
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AP Photo


Zimbabweans are feeling the wrath of high inflation. The rate of inflation in the southern African country now stands at 131.7 percent in the month of May.

Locals are now helpless as they are now forced to search for cheaper products as a way to survive the overpriced goods at major supermarkets.

In these shops they call trucks, lie the solution to their demise as they can buy cheaper products compared top large supermarkets.

"We buy at the truck shop because they are cheap, their price is not even expensive because there, in the big shops these days, they are expensive. Even their rate is less (than in supermarkets, ed.), at the truck shop they give us the good rates, that's why we prefer to buy at the truck shop because they are cheap," a customer said.

Zimbabwe has endure years of fluctuating value of currencies worsened by adoption of US dollar. Many Zimbabweans are now shunning away from major stores that experience frequent fluctuating currency rates when converting to the local Zim Dollar.

"Its cheaper for customers to buy from out here, for instance for a dollar they can get two drinks, instead of one from a supermarket. It's also because our exchange rate is better than the official rate," said one vendor.

The black market is also taking a toll on the local Zim Dollar with economists warning of a further deterioration of the local currency if not regulated.

"What we have witnessed over the past weeks is a massive increase in pricing, Zim dollar pricing. This has largely been caused by the very significant depreciation of the local currency that we have seen on the black market or on the parallel market," said Prosper Chitambara, an economist.

Zimbabwe's economy is inching toward "full dollarization," with the local currency facing collapse, local investment firm Inter-Horizon Securities said. It slumped by 34% in April alone.

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