Harare/Johannesburg — Zimbabwe has begun formal trading of what’s effectively a new currency as it tries to ease a shortage of dollars that’s crushed the economy. The initial rate for the Southern African nation’s currency, known as RTGS dollars, will be 2.5 per US dollar, central bank governor John Mangudya told business leaders on Friday in Harare, the capital. The rate was agreed on with commercial lenders, he said. On Wednesday, Mangudya announced that the government would no longer insist that a quasi-currency known as bond notes and RTGS$, an electronic equivalent, were worth the same as the US currency. They’ve been merged and allowed to trade freely on an interbank market. The black-market rate for the quasi-currencies has since strengthened slightly. But at roughly 3.5 per dollar on Friday, according to local website marketwatch.co.zw, they’re much weaker than Mangudya’s initial level. The governor said black-market prices for real dollars were so high because it had been i...

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