Yesterday the inevitable happened as karma finally caught up with illegal cash sellers who have been preying on the public for years. The cash injection promised by the RBZ finally appeared in banks and just like that cash-out “agents” who were used to making easy money selling cash were left in the wind.
A few weeks ago cashout agents were charging as much as 60% if you wanted to cash out/withdraw your money with them. This means that you had to part with $160 if you wanted $100 in cash for example. Desperate people who still seek their services as cash is still required in kombis and for other transactions such as buying vegetables.
When the RBZ announced that there would be a cash injection, there was a noticeable drop in the rate probably as those who were holding onto it started sensing things were about to change. Cash-out rates for notes dropped below 50% for the first time in a while.
However, when Monday (11 November) arrived, the rate dropped further. Traders were now asking for rates below 35% for notes as they anticipated the new currency to hit the streets. A few stubborn cash sellers even dared to raise their rates when it became apparent people were not getting the currency that day.
Tuesday the day of reckoning
Tuesday finally brought with it comeuppance. Social media was full of images of people holding the new currency (notes and coins). According to some reports, banks were allowing people to withdraw as much as $300 in one goal. Rumours made rounds that ATMs had woken from the dead.
The cash market just melted. It didn’t help Ecocash seemed to have a glitch that coincided with all this meaning zero business in the cash market during that time. We started seeing bulk cash sellers panicking as they jostled to ditch their wares.
We saw an increased number of listings with people trying to ditch their bond notes. They who were so proud to demand lofty rates were even too embarrassed to mention their asking rates now preferring people to inbox. Some were asking for as low as 20% for notes.
A few clever ones started buying USD in bond notes. The forex market hasn’t yet fully adjusted to the availability of cash. Expect it to do so soon.