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Venezuela to chop 3 zeros off currency bills

President Hugo Chavez said he will chop three zeros off new bolivar currency bills to bolster Venezuelans' perception of a strong currency in a bid to curb inflation, which is now highest in Latin America.

But an ex-central bank director said the measure may have the opposite effect because it could give people the idea they have more buying power and businesses may round up their calculations so that consumers will pay a little extra.

The bolivar, named after Chavez's 19th century hero Simon Bolivar, trades above 4,000 bolivars to the dollar on the parallel market, around double the official fixed exchange rate is 2,150 bolivars.

Chavez said he wants to alter the bills so that for example, a 1,000 bolivar note would be a one bolivar coin.

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