Inflation tops 66 000%

Bernard Mpofu



ZIMBABWE’S year-on-year inflation for December surged by 39 741,5 percentage points to reach a new high of 66 212,3% as the economy continues to crum

ble.


The new figure, released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) this week, means that prices increased over 660 times between December 2006 and December 2007.


This is the highest price increase that Zimbabweans have experienced since the crisis started in 2000.


The year-on-year inflation rate for November was 26 470,8%. The release of the December figures means that Zimbabwe’s inflation numbers are two months behind.


Under normal circumstances the CSO was supposed to be releasing the January figures this week.


Although the figures were announced yesterday, the press release is dated January 30.


The CSO said the month-on-month inflation rate for December was 240,1% increasing 108,7 percentage points on the November figure of 131,4%.


“This means that prices as measured by the all-items CPI increased by an average of 240,1% between November and December,” the CSO said.


The year-on-year inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages was at 79 412,0% while non-food was at 58 492,9%.


“The month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation stood at 309% in December. The month-on-month non-food inflation stood at 199%, gaining 50,4% points on the November 2007 rate of 148,6%.


The consumer price index for December was $441 490 130,8 compared to $129 862 060,8 recorded in November.


Last month the International Monetary Fund said Zimbabwe’s inflation for December was around 125 000%. The IMF said the figure had increased to 150 000% in January.


An economic analyst said it was worrying that the CSO was still delaying publication of the figures.


Economic consultant, John Robertson, said: “Delaying these figures benefits government in two ways. First, it saves government from embarrassment and secondly, it eases them from the Public Service Commission salary adjustment pressures.”

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