The foreign currency interbank market introduced by the central bank in February this year has started to provide a financial lifeline for corporates with indications that many are beginning to feel the positive impact of their operations.
The country has for a long time witnessed skyrocketing prices of basic commodities triggered by foreign currency challenges as companies factored in the cost of foreign currency on the parallel market in their pricing model.
The central bank introduced the interbank market to ensure companies can trade forex formally on a willing buyer willing seller basis.
Though it had a false start, the market continues to find its feet with one leading beverages maker acknowledging in a statement published this Tuesday (today) that it has managed to transform its operations as access to foreign currency has improved.
Consequently, the company has since ditched its requirement to have orders for its products be paid partly in forex, something which had triggered an upward spiral of its alcoholic and non-alcoholic products.
The chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Harare Chapter, Mr Mike Kamungeremu said some of their members are beginning to access forex through the interbank market.
“I can say that access to foreign currency remains a challenge but the coming in of the interbank market is a step in the right direction as some of our members have successfully managed to purchase it instead of using the parallel market,” he said.
Prices of goods have been going up as they chase the rate on the parallel market and the RTGS dollar on the interbank continuing to weaken from 2.5 at inception to 5.6 by end trading this today.
Many have asked when the market will find its equilibrium as promised by the Treasury authorities, especially after the introduction of the $500 million facility which was expected to stabilise the market.
At around 5.5 against the greenback, the RTGS dollar remains the strongest currency in sub Saharan Africa but what boggles the mind is what forces are driving the runaway parallel market of foreign exchange which is the biggest source of market and pricing distortions.