A record US$36,32 million was allotted at yesterday’s 31st foreign currency auction of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, but for the second week running all bids below $82 were rejected so the Zimbabwe dollar eased another 0,84 percent to $83,3725 to the US dollar.
While the top bid on both the main auction and the SME auction was $89, and the bottom bid on both was $80, only three of the 279 valid bids on the main auction, and nine of the 197 on the SME auction, were pitched between $80 and $82 and so missed the allotments.
Another 47 bids on the main auction and 23 on the SME auction had been disqualified for either incomplete paperwork, mainly accounting for previous exports and imports, or because bidders were seeking currency to pay for goods and services not on the priority lists.
The US$33,7 million allotted to bidders in the main auction set a new record, while the US$2,6 million on the SME auction was marginally below the two highest totals in that auction.
As always, because of those priority lists, raw materials dominated the allotments, with US$15,7 million on the main auction and US$602 842 on the SME auction.
The main auction saw US$3,9 million for machinery and equipment, US$3,4 million for fuel electricity and gas, US$3,1 million for retail, US$2,9 million for consumables, US$2,4 million for services, and US$1,9 million for pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
On the SME auction, as is now usual, consumables came in second, on US$520 178. But pharmaceuticals were well represented on US$223 507, about 8,5 percent of the total in this auction.
The last two weeks have seen the exchange rate rising a little under one percent a week, with the prevailing average of four percent a month inflation suggests that the exchange rate is now matching the inflation rate, preserving value for exporters who automatically sell an average of 40 percent of their foreign earnings as these arrive, although they are now allowed to keep the other 60 percent as long as they wish.