Reduced Zim inflation still world’s highest



ZIMBABWE’S official inflation rate dropped to 149,3% last month, from 209% in October, but still remains one of the highest inflation figures in the world.



ce=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The country, in the midst of its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain, had inflation peaking at more than 600% last year.


With the local currency plummeting, sending a Christmas card to Europe by airmail now costs $40 000 twice as much as a one-bedroom apartment did shortly after 1980.


The American dollar was equivalent to $2 at the time, compared with the current official rate of $5 600, or $8 000-plus on the black market.


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe attributes the recent drop in inflation to tighter fiscal policies aimed at reining in rampant profiteering and a lucrative black market in scarce commodities and hard currency.


However, the official inflation rate excludes prices on a wide range of services and imports that have continued to soar throughout the year.

The cost of medicines, vehicle repairs and health, agriculture and mining equipment has risen by more than 600%.


The state telephone and postal companies have increased their fees by 1 000%.


The agriculture-based economy has collapsed in four years since the government started seizing thousands of white-owned commercial farms in 2000 for redistribution to black Zimbabweans.


The country routinely faces acute shortages of food, hard cash, petroleum products and other imports.


However, Presient Robert Mugabe’s government blames the economic meltdown on sabotage by domestic and external foes, backed by Britain and other western countries. — Sapa-AP.

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