Here we publish implied rates obtained by comparing tuckshop prices against supermarket prices and other wallets

USD / ZWL$ ZIPIT/Bank^$195.00
USD / ZWL$ Swipe***$200.00
USD / ZWL$ OneMoney$175.00
USD / ZWL$ Ecocash$175.00
USD / BOND* or ZWL Cash$150.00
USD / BOND** or ZWL Cash (USD1 Notes)$15000
USD / ZWL$ RBZ Average Official Rate$105.6896
USD / ZWL$ Skrill210.00
USD / ZWL$ Bitcoin215.00
USD/USD Skrill1.02-1.05
USD/USD Bitcoin1.07-1.15

Last updated 3 December 2021 0620 hours

  • *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 $150 ZWL cash per 1 USD when setting their prices
  • Our site is about informing you about the latest prices we have never dealt, 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. And a few moments later, you are told a price. This usually goes along the lines of “If you are paying using Swipe/ZIPIT you will have to pay $195 ZWL.” When we get home we pull out our own calculators and attempt to come up with the rate that was used.

30 November 2021 Auction Summary

DetailsSME Auction Number 68Main Auction Number
74
Amount AllottedUS$6 466 518.27US$32 681 877.66
The Highest Rate125.0000120.0000
The Lowest Rate100.0000100.000
Lowest Accepted Rate100.000100.000
Total Bids AcceptedUS$6 466 518.27US$32 681 877.66
Number of Bids Received923604
Number of Accepted Bids612274
Number of Bids Alloted612368
Number of Bids Disqualified311236

30 November Auction results and Forex Allocations

PurposeAmount Allotted SME Auction (US$)Amount Allotted Main Auction (US$)
Raw Materials2 027 946.1412 886 823.83
Machinery and Equipment2 134 470.169 563 903.99
Consumables (incl Spare, Tyres, Electricals)813 235.153 098 825.50
Services (Loans, Education, Dividends, Disinvestments, etc)549 730.631 972 011.01
Retail and Distribution (Incl. Food, Beverages, etc)467 852.292 506 916.23
Fuel, Electricity and Gas0.00160 008.59
Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals344 411.391 830 950.66
Paper and Packaging128 872.51662 437.85
Total6 466 518.2732 681 877.66
  • A Grand Total of US$41 950 533.44 was distributed through the auction during the week of 30 November 2021
  • About US$39.1 million was disbursed through the auction compared to about US$41.9 million last week
  • Officially, the Zimbabwean dollar marginally lost value as it moved from US$1: $105.6684 ZWL to US$1: $105.6896 ZWL this week
  • There have been 74 main auctions and 68 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 list, the bidding company has what appears to be adequate foreign currency in their accounts, 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 Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has resumed operations but Old Mutual shares are now not being traded on it.
  • The new official rate is determined by an auction which is carried out once a week. The above official rate will last for a week after the auction.
  • The RBZ banned Ecocash Cash-in and Cash-out and agents the primary means through which illegal traders by and sell foreign currency. This dampened the market and has driven the sellers even further underground. Thanks to these actions the Ecocash rate on the black market has remained closer to the cash rate as there is very little movement of funds in this arena.
  • We don’t illegally trade in foreign currency. This data is obtained from various sources including MarketWatch and WhatsApp groups based on 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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