Zimbabwe, in attempt to protect its currency—already a close neighbor of worthless—has decided to close its stock exchange.

If there is no market for the currency, then it has little value in terms of purchasing power. If there is no convertibility of the currency into other currencies, then there is both high risk in holding the currency and reduced interest in holding it.  And so reduced purchasing power.

If the currency has little value and limited convertibility—or either alone—there is little interest in investing in the country or in simply buying its goods or selling foreign goods in—especially if the investments must be done in the domestic currency.

Without foreign trade or investment, domestic production of goods and services is strongly limited—especially when the nation is so far from self-sufficient in necessary resources—the inputs to any production.

Limited production, limited buying—the stuff of economic stagnation moving into decline.

Closing a stock exchange in such an environment is a move with no relevance to the failure of the ZWL. Aside from the fact that only the very rich Zimbabweans and foreign investors traded on that market, the failure of the currency is a failure in citizens’ belief in the government, a failure of their confidence in the nation, and a disbelief in the citizens to keep what they’ve earned, whether hard goods or money. It’s a failure in confidence in the future.

Getting the future back is more serious business than closing a stock market.

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