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Zimbabwe slashes currency down to size

HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 31 (UPI) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said it would erase 10 zeros from it currency, effectively turning $10 billion into $1.

The rate change, which goes into effect Aug. 1, would make life more practical in a country where citizens carry huge amounts of money and where computer systems are clogged with zeros, SW Africa Radio reported Thursday.

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But the move will not help curb inflation, analysts said.

Low international investments in Zimbabwe have led to an official inflation rate of more than 2 million percent. Independent analysts, however, say the rate is closer to 15 million percent, the news service reported.

The rate change will not help average citizens, economist Lance Mambondiani said.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said the government would act if the business community did not cease profiteering behavior, the Zimbabwe Herald reported.

"Something must be wrong. Have we turned into extortionists, self-centered people, no matter how much we impoverish the people? We must make a new beginning," Mugabe said.

With the announcement, Zimbabwean currency suddenly became collectors' items. A $100 billion Zimbabwean note -- the country's highest denomination -- was attracting bids of more than $200 on eBay,

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The Daily Telegraph of Britain reported.

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