Tuesday 25 July 2017

Venezuela launches new banknotes amid soaring inflation

A bank customer shows a new bank note of 500 bolivars outside a bank in Caracas, Venezuela (AP)
A bank customer shows a new bank note of 500 bolivars outside a bank in Caracas, Venezuela (AP)

Venezuelans have been standing in long ATM lines to take out new, larger-denominated bills that President Nicolas Maduro hopes will help stabilise the crisis-hit economy.

Mr Maduro said last month that he was scrapping circulation of the most-used 100-bolivar note and replacing it with new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars.

Residents in Caracas expressed shock at seeing bills with so many zeros.

However, triple-digit inflation has destroyed many families' purchasing power and even the largest of the new bills is worth less than six US dollars (£5) on the black market.

The government also plans to set up special foreign exchange houses near the border to stamp out the black market and attract badly-needed hard currency from Colombian shoppers who frequently cross into Venezuela for bargain-hunting.

AP

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