Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered a “re-denomination” of the ailing bolivar currency on Thursday, by knocking three zeroes off amid hyperinflation and a crippling economic crisis.
The measure to divide the so-called bolivar fuerte - or “strong bolivar” - currency by 1,000 would take effect from June 4, the socialist leader said.
The move illustrates the collapse of the bolivar, which has fallen 99.99 percent against the U.S. dollar on the black market since Maduro came to power in April 2013.
But Maduro, 55, presented the revaluation as a positive development intended to protect Venezuela against currency speculators and a U.S.-led “economic war” against the OPEC member country.
Millions of Venezuelans are suffering from shortages of food and medicines during a fifth year of recession that critics blame on government incompetence and corruption, but Maduro says is due to Western hostility against him plus the fall of oil prices.
A $100 purchase of bolivars when Maduro came to power would now be worth just a single U.S. cent.