The official rate changes on a weekly basis while the unofficial rates can change anytime.

Nostro USD/USD Notes10%
Nostro USD/ZWL Notes$130
USD / ZWL$ ZIPIT/Bank^$168.00
USD / ZWL$ Swipe***$168.00
USD / ZWL$ OneMoney$140.00
USD / ZWL$ Ecocash$140.00
USD / BOND* or ZWL Cash$130.00
USD / BOND** or ZWL Cash (USD1 Notes)$130.00
USD / ZWL$ RBZ Average Official Rate$86.9267
USD / ZWL$ Skrill165.00
USD / ZWL$ Bitcoin175.00
USD/USD Skrill1.02-1.05
USD/USD Bitcoin1.07-1.15
Rand/ZWL OneMoney & EcocashR145: 1300 ZWL
Rand/ZWL ZWL CashR145: 1300 ZWL
Rand/USD You buying Rand using USD14.65: 1 USD
Rand/USD You buying USD using Rand14:30: 1 USD

Last updated 21 September 2021 18:55 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
  • For example, shops currently use a rate of $130 ZWL cash per 1 USD but when you sell on the streets you will likely only get about $ 120 ZWL
  • Our site is about informing you about the latest prices but we know people might also be interested in other rates so we have included both of them above
  • **Due to an acute change problem in the market $1 USD notes sometimes (but not always) sell a premium
  • *** Usually indicates the rate paid by dealers who deal with amounts of above US$100 and the implied rate used by shops when selling their wares. Small and middle dealers who interface with people in the streets pay the rate somewhere near that indicated by ^.
  • We have seen some people advertising to buy Nostro USD in exchange for Cash USD at a discount.
  • 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.

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 $150 ZWL.” When we get home we pull out our own calculators and attempt to come up with the rate that was used.

21 September 2021 Auction Summary

DetailsSME Auction Number 58Main Auction Number
Amount AllottedUS$9 779 692.35US$29 002 007.15
The Highest Rate97.200095.0000
The Lowest Rate85.000085.0000
Lowest Accepted Rate85.000085.0000
Total Bids AcceptedUS$12 073 518.56US$34 894 442.49
Number of Bids Received1082443
Number of Accepted Bids1023410
Number of Bids Alloted1023410
Number of Bids Disqualified5933

21 September Auction results and Forex Allocations

PurposeAmount Allotted SME Auction (US$)Amount Allotted Main Auction (US$)
Raw Materials3 004 873.0612 642 805.59
Machinery and Equipment3 030 865.816 594 991.86
Consumables (incl Spare, Tyres, Electricals)1 492 637.162 632 044.47
Services (Loans, Education, Dividends, Disinvestments, etc)599 110.941 204 631.57
Retail and Distribution (Incl. Food, Beverages, etc)819 992.523 262 929.05
Fuel, Electricity and Gas20 482.410.00
Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals315 834.59722 071.61
Paper and Packaging225 749.631 094 208.53
Total9 779 692.3529 002 007.15
  • A Grand Total of US$38 781 699.50 was distributed through the auction during the week of 21 September 2021
  • About US$38.78 million was disbursed through the auction compared to about US$41.5 million last week
  • Officially, the Zimbabwean dollar marginally lost value as it moved from US$1: $86.3010 ZWL to US$1: $86.9267 ZWL this week
  • There have been 64 main auctions and 58 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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