These photos reveal the huge amounts of cash Venezuelans need to buy daily essentials
In pictures: The huge amounts of cash Venezuelans need to buy everyday essentials
Nervous Venezuelans have been rushing to the shops on concerns that a monetary overhaul to lower five zeros from prices in response to hyperinflation could wreak financial havoc and make basic shopping impossible.
Inflation hit 82,700% in July, according to the opposition-run congress, as the country's socialist economic model continued to unravel, meaning purchases of basic items require piles of cash that is often difficult to obtain.
That will in some circumstances leave consumers in the confusing situation of having to use old bills with face value of 1,000,000 bolivars to make purchases valued at 10 bolivars in the new denomination.
Poor Venezuelans without bank accounts have for months been carrying wads of cash to make basic purchases.
Buying one kilo of cheese, worth the equivalent of €0.99 at the most widely used exchange rate, requires 7,500 notes of 1,000 bolivar denomination - a note that was only brought fully into circulation last year.
Reuters photographer Carlos Garcia Rawlins found a unique way to show how many bolivars one must carry for the essentials in Caracas:
Be ready to pay 2.6 million bolivars (€0.35) for a toilet paper roll
You will need to fork out a mega 14.6 million bolivars (€1.94) for a 2.4 kilogram chicken
A kilogram of carrots will set you back by a staggering 3 million bolivars (€0.40)
1 kilogram rice will cost you 2.5 million bolivars (€0.33)
A kilogram of tomatoes will set you back by a mega 5 million bolivars (€0.66)
Drivers also rushed to fill up on Venezuela's heavily-subsidised petrol, the world's cheapest at around 2,896 gallons per US penny.
Some drivers were worried about paying for petrol on Monday as there will be no new legal tender small enough to pay for a full tank.
Maduro also said this month that petrol prices should be increased, but has not provided a timeframe for the price hike.
A half-dozen sources at service stations said they had not been briefed about any changes and were not expecting an imminent rise in prices.
Maduro, who has said the country is victim of an "economic war" led by political adversaries, said the new monetary measure would bring economic stability to the struggling OPEC nation.
However, his critics have said the move is little more than an accounting manoeuvre that would do nothing to slow soaring prices.
They blame inflation on failed socialist policies and indiscriminate money printing.
Maduro has declared a public holiday for Monday, when a new set of bills will be introduced with the lower denominations. Internet banking operations will be halted for several hours starting on Sunday evening.
But the primary difference between the upcoming change and Maduro’s 2016 currency decision is that in this instance, most of the current ones will coexist with the new notes for an undetermined period while the new bills come into circulation.