Zimbabwe: $30 billion for a tin of beans, $22 billion for a pooh

(Telegraph) -- Zimbabwe's dollar, ravaged by hyperinflation, does not even come in the form of a proper bank note. Instead most bills are 'bearer cheques', marked with an expiry date, but will become worthless long before it is reached.

More recently the reserve bank, which is issuing bills in ever-larger denominations, moved on to 'special agro-cheques', leading to comments about how much 'aggro' people have to deal with.

All three agro-cheques – they come in a brown Z$50 billion denomination, the green Z$25 billion, and the pink Z$5 billion - have a picture of a grain silo on one side. The sad irony is that the national treasury is as empty as the country's grain silos.

On the rare occasions when products are available, the prices are astronomic.

At the TM supermarket in Borrowdale, in Harare's western suburbs, many shelves were bare yesterday. But a kilo of mince cost Z$490 billion, a kilo of sausage Z$170 billion, and a tin of baked beans Z$30 billion.

Despite Zimbabwe's desperate shortage of food, heavy import duties have been slapped onto edible products, and a litre of imported orange juice cost an eye-watering Z$303 billion.

Some prices have trebled from a week ago, when lavatory paper worked out at just under Z$22 million for a single sheet of two-ply. There was none in the supermarket yesterday, but by now there is probably an alternative use for the Z$50 million dollar note.

At one Harare restaurant dinner was Z$875 billion per person, and the house wine a little short of half a trillion dollars a bottle.

In one shop a television was on sale, with a sign marked '1.7'. Asked if that meant trillions, the shopkeeper answered: "No, the next one. I don't know what it's called."

Hurry up, I'm touching cloth here

A Zimbabwe man nipping off for a quick pooh