Zimbabwe's Total Cash On Hand: $217.00

Tyler Durden's picture

Several years after revealing the first one hundred trillion modern-day banknote and seeing its economy implode in a cloud of hyperinflationary smoke, Zimbabwe's problems are back with a vengeance. And this time not even more currency destruction, as Zimbabwe does not actually have its own currency any more having largely shifted to foreign currencies primarily the USD and the ZAR - can help. The problem? The country is officially out of cash. From AFP: "After paying public workers’ salaries last week, the balance in cash-strapped Zimbabwe’s government public account stood at just $217, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Tuesday. “Last week when we paid civil servants there was $217 (left) in government coffers,” Biti told journalists in the capital Harare, claiming some of them had healthier bank balances than the state. “The government finances are in paralysis state at the present moment. We are failing to meet our targets.”" Sadly not even the projected and quite hilarious 5% GDP growth of the now completely broke country, which can't even create money out of thin air as there is nobody who will lend it even one penny, will do much if anything. (Here we will briefly ignore the fact that Zimbabwe's net cash position is about $120,000,000,000,217.00 greater than that of the US)

The less than fun, for its citizens at least, details:

The move demolished investor confidence in the country, paralysed production, prompted international sanctions and scared off tourists.


Zimbabwe’s government has warned it does not have enough money to fund a constitutional referendum and elections expected this year.


Biti said that left no choice but to ask the donors for cash. “We will be approaching the international community,” he said.


The country’s elections agency said it requires $104 million to organise the vote.


Government’s national budget for this year stands at $3.8 billion and the economy is projected to grow 5.0 percent.

At least Zimbabwe can sell its gold. Well, it could, if it had any.

And when even the government apartchicks, which also includes the army, received no more cash, they turn violent, and quite hostile, to the very same government that provided for them for years. Which is to be expected: because as history has shown that without fail what follows hyperinflation, is war. Which incidentally is all the US government will need to position its southern drone base in order to quell the imminent appearance of "Al Qaeda" rebels and militants in the South African country. This, in turn would fall perfectly with the WSJ's headline article totay: "U.S. to Expand Role in Africa."

Because while the US is about to have western Africa covered with its drone presence, it needed a lucky break in order to get involved in the just as valuable south.

Why, again, does the US need to be in every nook and corner Africa? Same explanation we gave yesterday: to prevent the rapid Chinese colonization of the last continent, a development the US has been well behind the curve on. And since it has no cash to spend to compete with China, it will do the next best thing - send in the drones.

From - "The Beijing Conference": See How China Quietly Took Over Africa

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localsavage's picture

Whatever....The US would be negative if they didn't have Ben printing away.

knukles's picture

Not a thing a couple billion trillion dollar tungsten coins can't solve.  Fuck, mint double and give half to the Zims.
All problems solved, right Mr Krugman?



camaro68ss's picture

What? you dont want to print more???

krispkritter's picture

Maybe JPM can get them signed up with a ZBT card? (Zim Benny Transfers) Just until they get back on their feet...we swear, really...

Cheesy Bastard's picture

They should just tap thier pension fund until they can raise the debt ceiling.

TruthInSunshine's picture

LULZ at this article.

As I've stated before (and it's not about morality, but reality), the U.S. has just taken China to the geopolitics "clinic" regarding oil & the middle east, essentially establishing an iron curtain shutting China out of that pool of available oil, over the last decade.

As China has shifted a disproportiononately high % of "wealth" relative to GDP (and GNP) to seeking out resource opportunities in China (as a result, partially, of what I mentioned in the preceding paragraph), the U.S. comes in and snookers China with low cost, high tech surrogate "boots in the air" drone bases, to even run interference with any continued success China may be having extracting further resources from the African continent.

Finally, when it comes to printing & wealth, what "wealth" does China really possess (aside from slave labor, which in and of itself is being faced with ever more displacement by automation) that isn't highly susceptible to rapid depletion and/or obsolescence, and isn't the PBOC (i.e. the Chinese elite) just as print-happy as the Fed?

China is the eternal sucker at the poker table. China is the "Middle Black Hole Kingdom."

Harlequin001's picture

If there is one thing that will come from all this it is small government.


Time to lay off those government workers me thinks...

FEDbuster's picture

"Maybe JPM can get them signed up with a ZBT card?"

I am pretty sure you have to be Jewish to get a ZBT card.  We used to refer to that frat as "Zillions, Billions and Trillions" that was in the 70's.

ShakaZulu's picture

They have lived up to their name.  Just ask Timmah!

cynicalskeptic's picture

China plays for the long term.  The US is going bankrupt - trying to use its military to force the rest of the world to give it the disproportionate amount of world resources it consumes.  Newsflash - all that does is piss off a few billion people.  Meanwhile China takes all the $$$ it got making crap for the US (earned using factories we GAVE them in exchange for cheap labor) and is buying tangible assets and influence worldwide.

What happens when the world realizes that the US dollar is worthless and China announces a gold backed currency?   And what if it turns out that the gold the US claims to own has been 'lent out' or bartered away to the Saudis for oil over the past few decades?  The US can't fight the whole world - hell we couldn't even handle Iraq after deposing our former puppet and are gettgin our asses kicked in Afghanistan.  The Army NEVER wanted to end up in another Vietnam - but that's just where Bush II put them (and Obama kept them).

Even if the US wanted to take on the world, we no longer have the manufacturing capacity to handle even basics - like 5.56 ammo supplies.   We'll never go head to head with China but China (and Russia) will continue to back states like Iran to limit the US sphere of influence.  

Mr. Magoo's picture

Going head to head with China is not the plan, in fact Obama IS conspiring with the Chinese to conquer the U.S, that's why they want Barry to disarm the public. want a wake up call? GOOGLE search "China buying US land" Its time to move to South America very soon

TruthInSunshine's picture

China's long term track record isn't exactly so great though, is it?

In exchange for "factory of the world" status, they got a (literally) toxic environment (magnitudes worse than ANY emerging or developed nation; I've been to many areas of China on nearly a dozen trips over the past 5 years and have seen it first hand), a 10-fold increase in wages in a decade which sounds great until one mentions that domestic prices have risen 16-fold over that same period (with a few, central government mandated/subsidized exceptions), and not only a currency that's as equally worthless as the USD, Yen or euro, but which the central planners intend to try and suppress (since China's factory floor of the world economic model inherently depends on a relatively weak renminbi).

On your point about manufacturing capacity, automation has wiped out manufacturing jobs in the U.S. (as it has in every developed nation), yet manufacturing productivity has actually increased in the U.S., and in fact, some manufacturing that went abroad is returning to the U.S. (though admittedly not in an amount/volume great enough to stem a slide in long term unemployment and labor participation rate in the U.S. - again, in large part attributable to automation). The reality is that, in a fractional reserve, central bank guided world, all developed economies and many emerging ones are resorting to the increased debt derived "expansion" of marginally productive and EVEN net-destructive sectors of their economy (e.g. fiat-fueled finance) to try and slow the sinking of their "house" as it turns out it was built on pillars of salt and sand.

As far as your claim that China and Russia are working to thwart U.S. influence goes, it's interesting to note that Russia and China are probably more concerned with thwarting each other's influence, given their relative economic and political situations (and that Russia is rich in natural resources but weak in manufacturing while China is the mirror of this).

Finally, Chinese companies are literally dumping goods at prices less than that required to produce them, all around the world, and many such companies are subsidized to do so by the Chinese central planners, which are caught between a rock and a hard place in not wanting to see unemployment rise in China (the biggest threat to the stability of their regime), so a net loss on supporting manufacturing and exports is the lesser of two evils from the current Chinese establishment's perspective (but is this sustainable as a sovereign macroeconomic policy long term?).

prains's picture


nail- forehead- chinamen-titanium hammer-bullseye.......well done


if your heading up a new drink tank where do i send my fake resume

TruthInSunshine's picture

Route Charlemagne, 8
6464 Baileux (CHIMAY)

Must love ale. Perks include as much work product as you can consume, and deep, invigorating phiolosphical musings on all things life, liberty & love.

SAT 800's picture

Are you aware of the actual history of Zimbabwe? It's quite a story. They used to have balance of payments surplus and export agricultural products; then the revolutionary African Nutjob took over as Government, (it's a one man government), and started evicting the white, (European), farmers from their well ordered and productive farms and giving the land to the natives; who set up "villages" of crap an sticks on the properties and sat around on their asses waiting for money to fall out of the sky; in the process completely destroying the output of the formerly productive farms. Same for industry; nationalize and incapacitate. It's an absolutely amazing story. The fact, and it is a fact, that African Americans have an average IQ of 90; and students at a university in Africa tested at an average of 75; is highly significant. The history of Africa in the twentieth century is a huge population explosion; the only thing they know how to do is reproduce; accomplished through foreign food aid, vaccinations, and anti-biotics; and a take over of the various regions by local "leaders"; and disaster; of various degrees; sometimes essentially compltete and perfect disaster, as in Zimbabwe. If you wrote it as a novel no one would believe it; it's too crazy. But it's not a novel, it's history.

Styles9002's picture

Mugabe is a tyrant and certainly evicted white farmers but he didn't just give the land to any local blacks. He only passed it on to his former military supporters and 'veterans' of the fight for independence. These people are the biggest cronies in the land and generally sit back and expect other and the gov't to do all the work. Lots of people in Zim oppose Mugabe (white and black) but there is no appetite in the int'l community to remove him and that falls mainly at the feet of Jacob Zuma and Baraq Obama.

FEDbuster's picture

AIDs tends to balance out the population problem in Africa.  Rhodesia was once a beautiful country from all accounts.

e-recep's picture

thanks to mr. rhodes, eh?

Mr Pink's picture

That actually sounds a lot like my neighborhood

mjcOH1's picture

It sounds a lot like Detroit.


Bandit und Buster's picture





Whiteshadowmovement's picture

Yeah, SA "sanctions" the murder of white farmers the same way the US "sanctions" elementary school shootings.

prains's picture



its called the circle of life....what goes around COMES around...murder begets murder

just because the exploiter is now the exploited is just life circling the drain.


The arguement that the white murderer who was able to better exploit the resource they murdered for

should be left alone to spread the profit amongst their select few is ALSO pure cocksandwhich

I don't like your sandwhich

Dapper Dan's picture


In the United States, African Americans bunch disproportionately at the lower end of the social scale, although progressively less so in recent years, as shown in average income and unemployment figures, geographical dispersion, average educational level, etc. "African Americans test about one standard deviation below the whites, which for the non-statistically trained implies that the average white is superior to 84% of the African Americans. About 16% of African Americans do better than the average white" averred Miller (1995). What is striking, says Miller is how the number of African Americans with IQ's over 120 is scarcely visible, while there are actually more African Americans with IQ's below 80 than there are whites."


read more at:


hivekiller's picture

African Americans have an average IQ of around 85 not 90 and the only reason for that is because they are 25% or more white. Slavery was the best thing that ever happened to blacks. As for me, I'd ship all them back to Africa. I'm tired of their whining and living off of whitey.

401K of Dooom's picture

Wow!  Zimbabwe sounds like Massachusetts.  The old bay state has killed itself.  Just watch in five to ten years it will colapse on itself. 

FEDbuster's picture

It's already collapsed, but then again so have we.

Redhotfill's picture

SAT 800 it appears 6 africans gave you down arrows.

smlbizman's picture

these guys should call billy joe....he has plenty

withnmeans's picture

Spot on, Tyler's are just trying to lay it out for ya, The U.S.A. is actually poorer the Zimbabwe, at least they have a couple hundred bucks to their name.  Maybe it is a good thing they don't own a printer, they can't get any deeper in debt that way!


Carry on good people.

CPL's picture

THe printer was $219.87 with tax.  It would have bankrupted the place.

Harlequin001's picture

They have a printer and it's a big one. Problem is that it's totally worn out now, and they haven't got any real money to repair it.

CPL's picture

Well it costs a fortune to replace inkjet carts nowadays, even the re-fillers are getting up there.  They'd blow 20% of their budget to print an average of 80 pages of black and white or 45 in colour.  Even in Zimbabwe they are a money savvy bunch, people say they are misers with their wealth but I tell them;  

"Friend, those Zimbabwe fellers have got the right mind for recuperating their cash and holding that line.  Someday that $217 will compound to $15,145,117,813,477.62 over 10000 years at the friendly saver rate of 0.25%.  That's horse sense Friend."

hannah's picture

if you have an address for the printing office, i'll send them a coupon for cheap refills from bestbuy....every bit helps

cynicalskeptic's picture

Actually, what finally killed Zimbabwe money printing was their inability to pay for more banknote paper (and International pressure on the German seller to stop providing more).

Gold dust, US dollars and South African Rands are now the medium of exchange.

Considering how wealthy this country is in terms of natural resources, this is a travesty.  One has to wonder if the outside world WANTS Mugabe to totally destroy the place so they can swoope in and pick up the pieces on the cheap.

Tsukato's picture

Considering how wealthy this country is in terms of natural resources, this is a travesty.  One has to wonder if the outside world WANTS Mugabe to totally destroy the place so they can swoope in and pick up the pieces on the cheap.


WOOOHOOO!!!! Thanks for the superb idear! If things get too bad, maybe I can get some slaves to boot :)

Actually, I'm waiting for a similar situation in US. I figure, given enough time, a solid depegging from the US$, and I'll be able to pick up some white chicks in america to prostitute out here in Chongqing :)

PS- I'm a white american guy, so you needn't bash the poor, dirty, chinkies for my sins.


Divided States of America's picture

Hey at least they admit they are effin broke....unlike the US


Zimbabwe is not a deadbeat nation. 

CPL's picture

It's got 217 more dollars than zero.


I for one welcome the new financial regime of Zimbabwe and their wise ways of cash flow management.  

Henry Chinaski's picture

Still a positive net worth.

Flash poll: "up" if you have a positive net worth.  "down" if not.

hannah's picture

can i seasonally adjust it...?

A Lunatic's picture

I do hope tomorrow's Simon Black article will discuss the grand lifestyle to be had in Zimbabeland.

CPL's picture

Puddle water in an Evian bottle while touring on my detailed ox.

"sup bitchez. Lord Tubby Black rollin."

whatsinaname's picture

Any gold mines in Zimbabwe ?

SAT 800's picture

Hell yes; also some of the best productive farm land in Africa; but it has to be run by Europeans; otherwise; zilch.

11b40's picture

"Zimbabwe's position as a major gold producer continues to slide as its once mainstay gold mining industry continues to decline as a result of political and social unrest."

Quote from Zap's link above.