Paper Shortage Deepens Crisis in Zimbabwe

With inflation at 40M%, government can't print money to keep pace
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 2:58 PM CDT
A man holds the new 100 billion dollar note introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday. Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation, estimated at around 40,000,000%.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – International sanctions and hyperinflation have left Zimbabwe nearly unable to print money, the Guardian reports. Stocks are nearly depleted since shipments ceased early this month from the German firm that supplied paper for banknotes; worse, the license will soon expire on the software used to design and print the bills. And with inflation around 40 million percent, demand for new, larger-denomination bills is insatiable.

“It's a major problem,” said a source at the mint, which Monday issued a $100 billion Zimbabwean bill—worth about 14 US cents. “They are in a panic because without the software they can't print anything.” The money crunch means the government will soon be unable to pay its workers or, more crucially, its military.