The Week ends on a fairly low note as businesses are winding up to close for the festive season holiday. It has been a tumultuous year for most business establishments and this week has not been any different as the local currency continued on a downward trajectory.
The Zimbabwe dollar closes the week valued at ZW$ 16.54 against the American dollar from ZWL$ 16.41 beginning of the week as per the interbank rate.
Demand for foreign currency was high as the fuel situation remained critical. Winding fuel queues were the order of the day and this affected economic activity.
Electricity shortages have worsened during the past few weeks and flood developments that hit neighbouring South Africa this week have compounded matters for Zimbabwe whose energy imports have been immensely affected.
Zimbabwe relies on an extra 400 Megawatts into its national grid from South African utility company, Eskom.
Elsewhere, on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) equity benchmarks on Thursday posted gains with the exception of the Top 10 Index which fell 0.11 percent to close at 206.85.
The All Share index marginally gained 0.13 percent to close at 232.29 points.
The Mining Index was the top performer advancing 2.23 percent 336.38 points buoyed by a strong performance from nickel miner, Bindura Nickel Corporation which went up 7.14 percent to close at $ 0.1500.
The Industrials advanced 0.09 percent to 772.96 points.
Market activity remained low with 127 trades in contrast to 510 realized a fortnight ago while market capitalization stood at ZWL$ 30.054 billion.
Meanwhile, the ZSE on Wednesday went into a pact with the Harare Receivable Exchange (HRE), a local startup which offers a digital platform for selling yet-to-be-paid invoices as the two entities thrive to offer local businesses with alternative sources of finance.
On the monetary front, there has been a notable rejection of the 25 and 50 cent coins in the informal sector as traders avoid huge stashes of coins in their pockets.
Analysts recently criticized the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for introducing new small denominations in form of two dollar coins given the current hyper inflationary environment arguing the development would result in people carrying hoards of coins which was likely to be rebuked by the market.
The week witnessed an uneventful build up to the Christmas spending spree with retailers conceding that the market was generally lackluster.
Speaking to 263Chat Business, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Denford Mutashu said, “We are seeing the general slowdown in terms of spending from our customers as you may be aware of the price adjustments that are taking place in the market,”
However, the week ahead cannot guarantee any meaningful economic developments outside the burgeoning informal sector that seldom take cognizance of public holidays, but as for the formal economy, we await January 2020 when businesses return to full throttle.