The RBZ Says It Doesn’t Participate On The Black Market

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It’s a well known allegation that is now more than a decade old. It all started during the first “burning” era in 2008 when the first and second Zimbabwean dollars crumbled to dust. Back then a rumour started doing rounds that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe itself has runners that bought foreign currency on the black market on the Bank’s behalf.

It’s a rumour that has surfaced again in recent months as the rate went berserk going from 1 USD: 3 ZWL a year ago to the current 1USD : 70+ ZWL. Whispers have done rounds saying that the central bank has once again engaged the services of runners to mop up foreign currency on the black market.

It’s claimed some dealers openly boast about this. People have pointed to the fact that even though illegal foreign currency dealers openly engage in their trade they are rarely arrested let alone convicted despite various laws making what they do illegal.

There is also the fact that while cash shortages continue and the transacting public struggles to make withdrawals these illegal traders don’t seem to face any hurdles. Whenever a new currency is introduced, such as the latest $10 note, these traders are seen around hurling piles of this new crispy currency.

The Central Bank Denies it

The whisper is not going away

This denial is not going to do much good and a lot of members of the public will just dismiss it as a hollow PR campaign. It doesn’t help that the central bank has issued statements on things in the past that turned out to be the opposite of whatever they said. Those making these claims will probably continue to do so and people will believe them given the points made above.

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About Us

We are a team of independent analysts whose primary focus is research into the Zimbabwean parallel markets as well as the stock market. We strive to bring you the most accurate rates in the market and our independence means we have no bias on these rates. You need to make your business decisions and we strive to be your best source of information.


As Market Watch we do not deal in the parallel market nor do we quote on behalf of any other person or company. We are not traders and cannot be accountable for any decisions you make around our data. We are researchers only so please do not assume our information is accurate. Our information comes from various sources including social media as well as market informants on the street. For official USD and RTGS rates please consult your banking partner or the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe. Please note it is illegal to deal on the parallel market and we strongly advise against it. Our platform documents the rumoured parallel market that is mentioned on social media and various other sources.

The Lingo


The ‘Old Mutual Implied Rate’ is a comparison between the Old Mutual share price on the London stock exchange / the Johannesburg stock exchange and the Zimbabwe stock exchange. Effectively RTGS is valued at 1:1 with the USD, but this difference in share price gives us the implied countries exchange rate.


Real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS) is a funds transfer system where money transfer takes place from one bank to another on a “real time” basis and “gross” basis. Settlement in the “real time” means that the transaction happens almost immediately.


The Zimbabwe Bond Note is a surrogate currency issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This was originally issued against a loan facility from the African Export-Import Bank. The Bond Note is officially 1:1 however the market seems to have significantly discounted the value of the Bond Note.


The symbol ZAR is the currency abbreviation for the South African rand.