World’s Worthless Money

October 9, 2008

10 million Zimbabwean Dollars = US$4

If you think the American economy is bad, take heart that it’s nowhere near the ultra-super-hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, once one of the richest countries in Africa. The country’s central bank has recently issued a Z$100 billion note (yes, Z$100,000,000,000). So, what would a Z$100 billion note buy you? About two loaves of bread (it won’t even get you lunch – you’d need at least Z$250 billion for lunch).

So far this year, the country ravaged by hyperinflation has been forced to print 100-million, 250-million and 500-million notes in rapid succession. All of them are now almost worthless. has become common now for Zimbabweans to talk of their daily expenses in trillions (one trillion is 12 zeros).


500,000 vietnamese Dongs = US$30

An early-1980s U.S. embargo hobbled exports, leading to price controls and the printing of excess currency.

100,000 Indonesian rupiah = US$11

During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the rupiah lost 80 percent of its value within months, sparking riots in Jakarta (and soon ending President Suharto’s 32-year rule).


50,000 Iranian Rial = US$5

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran’s inflation rate has hovered around 15 percent, thanks in part to ever-rising oil prices.


50,000 São Tomé Dobra = US$3.47

This African island nation’s economy is tied to the volatile price of its chief export, cocoa, and is measured against its trading partners’ robust euro.


10,000 Guinean Francs = US$2.33

In 2002, the mineral-rich African country refused to implement reforms mandated by the International Monetary Fund; foreign cash dried up, and the central bank printed too much money.

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