5-speed listening (Level 5)

Zimbabwe's new currency is U.S. dollar






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Zimbabwe's central bank scrapped the country's currency on Friday and started using the U.S. dollar. The Zimbabwean dollar has become more and more worthless because of hyperinflation, which peaked at an incredible 500 billion per cent in 2008. Since then, Zimbabweans liked the financial security of the U.S. dollar. Economists say that 90 per cent of the economy uses the U.S. dollar. People have until September to change their local currency for the U.S. dollar. The exchange rate is one U.S. dollar to 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars. That's 35 followed by 15 zeroes.

The old Zimbabwean dollar will not disappear. The large number of zeroes on the bills is making them a collector's item online. On the auction site eBay, a 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollar note is selling for US$35. This is nearly one hundred times more than the 40 U.S. cents the bill is worth. One hundred trillion is one plus 14 zeroes. The 100 trillion dollar bill used to buy a weekly bus ticket. One Zimbabwean is making money from the old currency by selling it to tourists. He said it was a waste of time to cash it in because tourists will buy the notes for US$20.

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