The CEO of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), Justin Bgoni, has stated that companies listed on the exchange can choose to prepare their financial statements in US dollars. This is due to the US dollar’s prominent role in the country’s economy. However, such a switch would require approval from the directors and shareholders of the companies. Justin Bgoni said:
It’s a multi-currency environment, so they can report in US dollars.
Recently, Zimbabwe extended the use of the US dollar as legal tender until 2030. The authorities believe that this move will provide policy certainty to the market, which has been disrupted by changes to currency regulations in the past. The Zimbabwe dollar was reintroduced in 2019 after a decade-long hiatus, but bouts of instability have meant that most citizens try to avoid using it for payments.
Companies in Zimbabwe have had to grapple with a volatile exchange rate and a widening gap between the official and parallel market value of the currency. The Zimbabwe dollar has weakened by 89% against the US dollar on the official market so far this year. As a result, many companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) are opting to switch to reporting their financial statements in US dollars.
For instance, Proplastics recently reported its half-year results in US dollars, while Delta, the country’s biggest beverage company, announced during a recent analyst briefing that it is considering switching to US dollar results for its full-year report. Delta highlighted that more than 80% of its revenue is in US dollars.
Other companies, such as property company Masholand Holdings and Dairibord, the country’s largest dairy producer, have already presented their most recent trading updates in US dollars, according to newZWire. Dairibord stated that 93% of its sales in the quarter ending in September were in USD, a significant increase from the average of 39% in the first half of the previous year. This shift to reporting in US dollars is seen as a response to the instability and uncertainty surrounding the Zimbabwe dollar.
Given the prevalence of the US dollar in the economy and the benefits of using a stable and widely accepted currency, companies are finding it more prudent to report in US dollars. It not only provides transparency and consistency but also helps them navigate the challenges posed by the fluctuating exchange rate.
According to Imara Asset Management, using US dollars for company earnings will provide investors with a clearer understanding of true profitability. The brokerage, which oversees more than US$100 million, believes that reporting in Zimbabwe dollars can hide financial issues and give a misleading impression of profitability.
Furthermore, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe reports that nearly all bank loans, approximately 94%, are now in USD. This shift occurred as authorities aimed to limit the circulation of Zimbabwe dollars in order to control inflation. The increased use of the US dollar for sales, loans, and financial reporting reflects the preference for a more stable and widely accepted currency in Zimbabwe’s business environment.