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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Non–monetary real value does not disappear with a monetary meltdown


Non–monetary real value does not disappear with a monetary meltdown



Only ZimDollars and other monetary items (loans, etc.) expressed in the ZimDollar had no value after the monetary meltdown. The real values of all non–monetary items (variable and constant real value non–monetary items) still existed after the monetary meltdown while the real value of ZimDollar money and monetary items terminated. All non–monetary items (constant and variable items) still had economic real values despite the lack of a CPI and despite the monetary meltdown of the ZimDollar.



Variable items, e.g., finished goods for sale, are generally valued in terms of the daily US Dollar parallel rate during hyperinflation. A variable item is sold at a lower price when a seller does not know the current street rate and sells it at the previous level of the parallel rate. This unnecessary real loss is not caused by the implementation of the stable measuring unit assumption. The seller did not assume the local hyperinflationary currency was stable in real value. The seller was simply not properly informed regarding the current level of the daily US Dollar parallel rate at the time of the sale.



Finished goods and all other variable real value non–monetary items still exist after monetary meltdown. They are then priced / valued / measured at fair value in terms of IAS 1 in the opening balance sheet in the new relatively stable currency adopted as the functional currency after monetary meltdown.


Valuation of constant items during hyperinflation



The stable measuring unit assumption is applied in the valuation of constant real value non–monetary items, e.g., salaries, wages, rentals, equity, trade debtors, trade creditors, taxes payable, etc. during hyperinflation when these items are not updated at all or not fully updated during hyperinflation; i.e., when the HCA model is implemented during hyperinflation as mistakenly approved in IAS 29 and mistakenly supported by Big Four accounting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers (PricewaterhouseCoopers 2006).



The financial statements of an entity whose functional currency is the currency of a hyperinflationary economy, whether they are based on a historical cost approach or a current cost approach shall be stated in terms of the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period.



IAS 29 Par. 8



It is clear from the above quotes that IFRS approve and PricewaterhouseCoopers support the implementation of the Historical Cost Accounting model and the very erosive stable measuring unit assumption during hyperinflation. That is a fundamental mistake during hyperinflation. HCA should be banned by law during hyperinflation.



Certain (not all) income statement items, e.g., salaries, wages, rentals, etc. are measured as a generally accepted accounting practice in units of constant purchasing power on an annual basis (they are updated annually – not monthly) as part of the traditional Historical Cost Accounting model during low inflation. The Framework states that various measurement bases are used in conjunction in the HCA model during inflation, hyperinflation and deflation.



A constant real value non–monetary item´s legal existence is determined by contract or statute (company law, commercial law, etc.). However, these constant real value non–monetary items are – in practice – treated as monetary items (cash) during the period that they are not measured in units of constant purchasing power in terms of the daily US Dollar or other daily hard currency parallel rate or a daily index rate during hyperinflation.



Salaries, wages, rentals, trade debtors, trade creditors, all other non–monetary payables, all other non–monetary receivables, etc. are not required in IAS 29 to be measured at the date of payment in terms of the period–end monthly published CPI. That is, obviously, not practically possible when the period–end monthly CPI is normally only available one or two months after the month to which it relates during hyperinflation. What is required in IAS 29 is that these constant real value non–monetary items´ nominal Historical Cost or Current Cost values – after payment or after the liability for the payment has been accounted – in HC or CC financial statements at the end of the accounting period be restated in terms of the period–end monthly CPI in order – simply – to make the HC or CC financial statements more useful during hyperinflation. The practical implementation of IAS 29 thus generally does not result in financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power during hyperinflation. That explains the complete failure of IAS 29 when it was implemented during hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. It did not manage to keep the Zimbabwe real economy relatively stable like daily measurement in terms of the daily index supplied by various governments during 30 years of very high and hyperinflation in Brazil did. The complete failure of IAS 29 in Zimbabwe seems to make absolutely no difference to the IASB´s confidence in this failed standard.



When there is no CPI published as happened towards the end of severe hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, values measured in terms the CPI cannot be determined. It was impossible to implement IAS 29 during severe hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.



The Zimbabwe government last published an official Zimbabwe dollar inflation index in July 2008. This, combined with the complexities of not having a stable currency due to the phenomenon described above, meant that there were severe limitations to accurate financial reporting in the period from August 2008. During this period the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Zimbabwe set up a technical subcommittee to address these challenges, as it was impossible to apply IAS 29



“Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies” without a general price index, or IAS 21 “Exchange Rates” without a single spot rate.



Whiley 2010



However, these constant items´ legal or contractual values (labour contracts, company registrations) do not disappear even when the accounting items – temporarily – cannot be valued. The companies act and labour laws governing labour contracts, etc. are still valid during hyperinflation, severe hyperinflation, monetary meltdown and thereafter. The accounting concept that the constant purchasing power of capital is equal to the real value of net assets always applies. Their legal or contractual constant real non–monetary values still exist even after monetary meltdown of only the local currency. They are valued in terms of IAS 1 in the opening balance sheet after monetary meltdown applying the principle that the constant purchasing power of capital is equal to the real value of net assets.



The IASB authorized an addition to IAS 1 in 2011 to allow for the fair value valuation of non–monetary items in the opening balance sheet of companies applying IFRS after severe hyperinflation and a monetary meltdown. Inflation and hyperinflation have no effect on the real value of non–monetary items. All non–monetary items (constant and variable items) were still there to be fair–valued and included in the opening balance sheets of companies after the monetary meltdown in Zimbabwe in 2008.



No exchangeability with any relatively stable foreign currency means no exchange rate which means no hyperinflation (no prices being set in the local currency) and vice versa: no exchange rate with any relatively stable foreign currency means no exchangeability which means no hyperinflation (no prices being set in the local currency). No prices being set in the local currency means monetary meltdown: the total money supply (only local currency money and only other monetary items stated in the local currency) has no value. This does not include any non-monetary item, variable or constant real value non-monetary item.


Nicolaas Smith

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