Monday, July 21, 2008

100 billion to one 

Zimbabwe introduces $100 billion banknotes. They're worth about USD 1. Technically, we've got a long way to go to reach the highest denomination, as the Hungarians issued 100 million B-pengo notes. A billion in Europe is a trillion in America, so 100 million trillion is 100 quintillion. However, if the new notes carry all the zeroes as the bills before it did, we've reached 11, tying the highest number of zeroes ever on a bill (Yugoslavia 1993.)

The government officially released figures last week indicating an inflation rate of 2.2 million percent. Unofficial estimates would put it closer to 10 million percent.

Interestingly in the first piece, I had not realized the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was actually issuing bearer bonds rather than banknotes. I don't think it makes too much of a difference.

That picture to the right is the Zim$/USD exchange rate for the last twelve months. That's what hyperinflation looks like.