New Venezuelan banknotes greeted with skepticism


Some Venezuelans are expressing scepticism about new banknotes that their government says will ease challenges posed by the country’s soaring inflation.

Bolivar bills with larger denominations were supposed to start circulating Thursday, though there was no sign of them at some banks in the Venezuelan capital in Caracas.

The central bank says the bills of 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 bolivars will help make payments and transactions “more efficient.” The biggest new bill is worth about $8.

But Caracas resident Rafael Gerardi says the measure will make it hard to get change.

“It’s not logical,” he said.

Venezuela’s currency has such little value that people commonly use debit cards to avoid hauling large piles of already scarce cash to pay for basic goods.

Last August, the government issued a new, rebranded currency called the bolivar soberano​​ (sovereign bolivar)​​​​​, with five fewer zeroes than the country’s previous currency — the bolivar fuerte (strong bolivar) — in response to the country’s hyperinflation.

Caracas Chronicles, an independent news and analysis organization, said the Central Bank of Venezuela can “keep issuing higher denomination bills or carrying out new reconversions, but the problem is hyperinflation and [President Nicolás Maduro] has done nothing to solve it.”

 

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