HARARE, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Zimbabwe's currency reforms are a step in the right direction but require to be further supported by market- determined interest and exchange rates to succeed.
IMF director of communications Gerry Rice said in a statement Friday that robust economic reforms were required for Zimbabwe to address a deep macroeconomic imbalance challenge, as well as a broader set of social and economic challenges.
He said that although the IMF does not have a financing program with Zimbabwe, it continues to discuss with Zimbabwean authorities to assist them in implementing economic reforms that are greatly needed to revive the ailing economy.
Rice said the move by the central bank to abandon the prevailing rate of 1:1 between the U.S. dollar and the surrogate bond note and allow the exchange rate to float was a welcome move to address distortions that have impacted on the economy.
"The currency reforms' success will depend on the implementation of an effective overall monetary policy framework supported by market-determined interest and exchange rates, together with prudent fiscal policies," Rice said.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe two weeks ago introduced the foreign exchange inter-bank market where the local currency, encompassing the Real Time Gross Settlement balances, bond notes and coins will now be traded with the U.S. dollar and other currencies at market rates.
The central bank pegged the opening rate at 2.50 against the U.S. dollar, slightly lower than black market rates of 3.60.
Rice said the IMF will maintain engagement with the struggling southern African country to offer support.
"The IMF is trying to help. We're engaged with them on how we can help them as much as possible."