Gold News

Zimbabwe Warns of US Dollar Devaluation

Gideon Gono advocates gold-backed currency...

ZIMBABWE now doubts the future value of the US Dollar – the currency upon which it has relied to end its disastrous hyperinflation, writes Lawrence Williams at MineWeb.

This is a country where President Robert Mugabe's dogmatic pursuit of white controlled farms – and now the mining industry – coupled perhaps with a serious degree of ineptitude and corruption, brought the country's economy to its knees

According to New – a UK-based Zimbabwe news portal – the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's Governor, Gideon Gono, is reported as saying:

"There is a need for us to begin thinking seriously and urgently about introducing a gold-backed Zimbabwe currency that will not only be stable but internationally acceptable...We need to rethink our gold-mining strategy, our gold-liberalization and marketing strategies as a country. The world needs to and will most certainly move to a gold standard and Zimbabwe must lead the way."

Gono reportedly said the inflationary effects of United States' deficit financing of its budget were likely to impact other countries, leading them to resist the greenback's status as a base currency.

"The events of the 2008 global financial crisis demand a new approach to self-reliance and a stable mineral-backed currency, and to me gold has proven over the years that it is a stable and most desired precious metal," Gono said. "Zimbabwe is sitting on trillions worth of gold reserves and it is time we start thinking outside the box, for our survival and prosperity."

When a country like Zimbabwe, which has experienced one of the worst hyperinflationary episodes ever with multi-billion Zimbabwe Dollar notes being virtually worthless (the country even printed a 100 trillion Dollar note at its inflationary peak), starts casting doubts on US Dollar inflation, perhaps we should start to worry a little – although one has to say Gono's financial credentials are shaky, to say the least. He presided over an inflationary period when at one time Zimbabwean inflation was said to be running at over a billion percent a month...

But he may have a point. Zimbabwe does have excellent gold reserves, although the country has seen its annual production decimated due to its financial policies and, at one time, withholding payment to its gold mines which have to sell to the central bank. 

As a consequence Zimbabwe's gold production dropped over a period of years to a low of 4 tonnes in 2008. At peak the country's gold output neared 30 tonnes. Since 2008, a relaxation on gold sales allowing mines to sell at global market prices has led to a revival, but still remains at less than half peak production levels.

Gono and Mugabe's money printing policy in Zimbabwe is the prime cause of the country's descent into the world's second worst ever hyperinflationary episode, so he has a strong personal knowledge of what can happen to a currency if the central bank keeps on churning out more and more paper money. Maybe he recognizes in Ben Bernanke a man after his own heart...

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Founded in 1999 as part of the Johannesburg-listed MoneyWeb media group, Mineweb is one of the world's leading sources of mining and metals-investment news, comment and analysis. Managed since 2003 by professional mining engineer Lawrence Williams – formerly of Mining Journal, and with more than 30 years' technical and financial experience in the sector – MineWeb provides thorough, international coverage of the natural resources industry.

See all MineWeb articles.

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