Venezuela to remove five zeroes from currency
Caracas: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday announced the removal of five zeroes from the country's currency - two more than originally planned - amid hyperinflation the IMF said could reach one million percent this year.
Maduro announced in a cabinet meeting that an "economic recovery" program involving "monetary reconversion" would commence August 20.
He previously said new bolivar bills with three zeroes fewer would enter circulation on August 4 -- a measure already pushed back from June 4 at the request of banks.
The measure, according to Maduro, seeks to "protect" local currency.
"Five zeroes fewer, so that we may have a new, stable financial and monetary system," he said.
Maduro blames hyperinflation on what he calls a "war" against the currency -- which is in serious shortage -- including exporting it to other countries such as neighbouring Colombia.
But the IMF, in forecasting one million percent inflation by year's end, said it expects Venezuela's to contract by 18 percent this year amid falling oil production.
It also pointed to economic "distortions," including printing money to finance the government.