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    Hyperinflation-hit Zimbabwe issues 10 bln-dollar banknote

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    HARARE, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Central Bank of Zimbabwe currently struggling with the world's highest inflation rate issued 1 billion, 5 billion and 10 billion Zimbabwean-dollar banknotes on Friday, local media said.

    Last week, the Southern African country's authorities, fighting a chronic cash shortage, put into circulation Z$500 million and Z$200 million notes "for the convenience of the public," newzimbabwe.com reported.

    The Z$10 billion note is worth about $20 U.S. on the black market.

    The country's Central Bank had earlier circulated Zimbabwe dollars in 100 million, 50 million and 10 million denominations, which quickly became worthless as inflation is estimated at more than 500 quintillion %, according to independent financial institutions.

    Inflation is officially put at 231 million %.

    So far, 29 new banknotes have been introduced this year alone in an effort to fight inflation, zimeye.org said.

    Cash can be only withdrawn once a week from banks due to cash shortages, forcing people to spend hours in queues and sleep outside banks to get money. With prices rising several times a day, the newly printed money is still insufficient.

    Zimbabwe's extended economic crisis has devastated the healthcare system, leaving the country virtually incapable of dealing with a cholera epidemic that has already killed over 1,100 people.

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