USD / ZWL$ ZIPIT/Bank^ 420
USD / ZWL$ Swipe*** 420
USD / ZWL$ OneMoney 420
USD / ZWL$ Ecocash 420
USD / BOND* or ZWL Cash 360
USD / BOND** or ZWL Cash (USD1 Notes) 360
USD / ZWL$ RBZ Auction Rate 258.5404
USD / ZWL$ Willing Buyer Willing Seller Rate
Official Rate
USD / ZWL$ Skrill 420
USD / ZWL$ Bitcoin 420
USD/USD Skrill 1.03
USD/USD Bitcoin 1.03
Latest official and unofficial rates

Last updated Tuesday 17 May 2022 at 16:39:26 Central Africa Time

  • The willing buyer willing seller rate is now the official rate in Zimbabwe supplanting the Auction rate.
  • Local electronic foreign currency transactions now attract a rate of 4% while local ZWL transactions continue to have a rate of 2%
  • Shops are now allowed to use the willing buyer willing seller rate within a margin of 10%
  • Zimbabwean banks are now no longer allowed to lend money to corporates and the government
  • *There is a difference between the rate that shops use for their calculations e.g. when you have to top up in ZWL notes (bond) versus the rate you will get by illegally selling USD on the streets. We don’t publish street or black market rates here see below to understand what these rates are and how they are calculated.
  • For example some, shops currently use a cash rate of $400.00 ZWL cash per 1 USD when setting their prices. On the streets, you would probably only get $380 ZWL.
  • Our site is about informing you about the latest prices we have never dealt with, are not dealing and will never involve ourselves in black market deals.
  • Even though Skrill has announced that it will close Zimbabwean accounts, Skrill balances are coveted by people who are into gambling and forex trading.
  • It’s not as coveted as Bitcoin which offers people the ability to move funds around away from the gaze of authorities. Bitcoin is also used in gambling and forex trading.
  • Both currencies sell at a premium even in USD

Something important to note

NB Our rates are there to help you navigate and make sense of prices offered in some shops which either a high rate e.g. Tuckshops, Pharmacies or deduce the implied rate used by some shops to set their prices based on what they sell their products in USD for in their online stores and ZWL in brick and mortar stores. It should not be used as a guide to the black market.

This should not be used as some magical guide to the world of illicit foreign currency trading. We are more interested in the prices of various items than anything else and will continue to focus on that aspect.

How are implied rates calculated?

As already pointed out we are primarily interested in prices. So here is an example, of how we come up with the implied rates. The bulk of employed people in Zimbabwe are civil servants who earn RTGS. We pose as a person who wants to buy something in RTGS, walk into a pharmacy or shop which sells primarily in USD. There is an item x selling for US$1 and we ask for the RTGS price.

The cashier pulls out their giant business calculator or enters a mysterious code into their system. A few moments later, you are told the price. This usually goes along the lines of “If you are paying using swipe or zipit, you will have to pay $390 ZWL.” When we get home we pull out our own calculators and attempt to come up with the rate that was used.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 Auction Summary

Details SME Auction 88 Main Auction 94
Amount Allotted US$1 240 118.58 US$5 604 709.04
The Highest Rate 300.0000 299.0000
The Lowest Rate 220.0000 220.0000
Lowest Accepted Rate 220.0000 220.0000
Number of Bids Received 1068 433
Number of Accepted Bids 1015 407
Number of Bids Alloted 135 50
Number of Bids Disqualified 53 26

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 RBZ Foreign Currency Allocations

Purpose Amount Allotted SME Auction (US$) Amount Allotted Main Auction (US$)
Raw Materials $399 298.05 $3 162 049.14
Machinery and Equipment $421 176.31 $1 022 000.57
Consumables (Incl. Spares, Tyres, Electricals, etc) $152 356.57 $199 557.09
Services (Loans, Education, Dividends, Disinvestments, etc) $118 337.19 $303 837.41
Retail and Distribution (Incl. Food, Beverages, etc) $82 083.50 $335 266.58
Electricity $0.00 $0.00
Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals $668 666.96 $50 000.00
Paper and Packaging $0.00 $531 998.25
TOTAL $1 240 118.58 $5 604 709.04

Highlights from the Tuesday, 17 May 2022 Auction

  • A Grand Total of US$6,844,827.62 was distributed through the auction during the week of Tuesday, 17 May 2022, which is US$19,999,584.59 less than the US$26,844,412.21 distributed from the last auction on Tuesday, 10 May 2022
  • Officially, the Zimbabwean dollar lost value by $85.2719ZWL as it moved from $173.2685 ZWL:1 USD to $258.5404 : 1 USD
  • There have been 94 main auctions and 88 SME auctions since the auction system began
  • The average rate is to be used with caution. Please read our explanation on why the rate is to be treated as a rough guide rather than used for internal calculations
  • Reasons for disqualification include things like the need for the foreign currency not being on the RBZ's priority list, the bidding company having what appears to be enough foreign currency in its account(s), companies that seem like they are externalising etc.
  • What all this means is that demand for foreign currency still far outstrips supply and
  • Some people/entities who wanted foreign currency were not able to get it
  • More often than not these entities find a way to get that foreign currency as failure is not an option.
  • The data published by the RBZ shows that the bulk of forex trading takes place on the forex auction
  • However, this market is not yet open to individuals who earn RTGS and are in need of forex for example:
    • Individuals who want to pay their pay-TV subscriptions which are only payable in USD- in one year the RBZ provided that showed that almost US$100 million was being spent on this
    • Individuals looking to pay fees for themselves or their children in foreign universities
    • People who want to import vehicles and other goods and services for themselves
    • Informal businesses whose import needs are not in line with the foreign currency priority list

Other Things to note

  • The new official rate is now determined by the willing buyer and willing seller rate used by banks. The auction-rate is now to be influenced by this.
  • Generally, auctions are carried out on Tuesdays, although they can take place on other days if, for example, the relevant Tuesday falls on a holiday. In any case, auctions are a weekly event, and no more than one auction takes place each week.
  • The government has banned ZSE brokers from making sub-account transfers.
  • We don’t illegally trade in foreign currency. This data is obtained from various sources on what shops are charging in ZWL and USD and what illegal traders are offering or asking for.
  • There is an undeniable link between prices in Zimbabwe and the black market exchange rates which a lot of businesses, including retailers and manufacturers use to compute their prices.
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