Venezuela to remove 5 zeroes from currency

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, July 25, announced the removal of 5 zeroes from the country's currency – two more than originally planned – amid hyperinflation the IMF said could reach one million percent this year.

Maduro announced in a cabinet meeting that an "economic recovery" program involving "monetary reconversion" would commence August 20.

He previously said new bolivar bills with 3 zeroes fewer would enter circulation on August 4 – a measure already pushed back from June 4 at the request of banks.

The measure, according to Maduro, seeks to "protect" local currency. (READ: Venezuela's 'millionaires,' the new poor)

"Five zeroes fewer, so that we may have a new, stable financial and monetary system," he said.

Maduro blames hyperinflation on what he calls a "war" against the currency – which is in serious shortage – including exporting it to other countries such as neighboring Colombia.

But the IMF, in forecasting one million percent inflation by year's end, said it expects Venezuela's to contract by 18% this year amid falling oil production.

It also pointed to economic "distortions," including printing money to finance the government. – Rappler.com