After weeks of topsy-turvy trading on the black market as the RBZ desperately tried to tame the black market rate which was on a romp, they seem to have succeeded for now. Today was the quietest day on the black market in years, we dare say.

The lethal blow

Capitalising on the fact that most traders rely on Ecocash to effect their trades given the prevailing cash shortages in Zimbabwe, yesterday the RBZ moved in for the kill. They banned Ecocash cashin and cash-out transactions with immediate effect.

The order probably took a while before the mobile money operators suspended the two transaction types. As late as 10:00 pm some agent lines were working with buyers paying $17.50 per USD on average. This morning was very quiet.

Frantically searching for a solution

In most groups we peeked into on WhatsApp buyers sounded downcast and wounded. In the morning many sounded disbelieving and shocked. The extent of the ban seems to be something they had never considered given the importance of Ecocash which is essentially a currency.

By midday, the mood seemed to have changed into a determined resolve to find an alternative solution. A lot of options seem to be under consideration including agent to agent, agent to merchant as well as ZIPIT. The hurdle seems to be Muthuli Ncube’s 2% IMT tax.