Business progressed slowly on Thursday as the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) led Malawians in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu into the streets in protest against the rising cost of living occasioned by the devaluation and flotation of the kwacha.
In the capital, Lilongwe, most shops opened late as owners were afraid that the demonstrations would degenerate into chaos.
By 8 am, most roads were deserted with few vehicles heading towards the Old Town.
A snap survey by Nation Online showed that Sana, Game Stores, Spar and others only opened around 9 am after being assured that the demonstrations would be peaceful.
Most banks at the Old Town were open although the banking halls had few people, but at Area 23, Kawale and other areas where most shops were looted during the July 20 demonstrations, remained closed.
The situation was almost the same in Blantyre with the Central Business District (CBD) deserted and most shops were closed.
Some customers could not service their electricity bills as Escom and Water Board paying points were also closed yesterday morning.
Most banks such as NBS, Indebank, Malawi Savings Bank, Ned Bank and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) and others were opened. Opportunity Bank kiosk at Blantyre Market was, however, closed.
In Mzuzu, all shops owned by foreigners were closed and owners were seen outside their business premises, monitoring the situation.
Chipuku Plus was opened the whole morning, but Peoples shop only opened in the afternoon.
Malawi is facing economic challenges characterised by shortage of foreign exchange, erratic supply of fuel, high bank lending and inflation rates that have pushed prices of basic commodities through the roof.