October 9, 2008

Inflation soars to 231 million percent

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate rose to 231 million percent in July, driven faster by food prices, according to official Government statistics. The annual rate of price growth was 11,2 million in June. It therefore gained 219,8 million percentage points, said the Central Statistical Office in a statement. What it means is on average goods in July this year were about 231 million times as expensive as they were 12 months earlier. The month-on-month rate rose 1 760,9-percentage points on the June rate of 839,3 percent to 2 600,2 percent. Bread and cereals were the main drivers. Depending on availability, a loaf of bread now costs between $7 000 and $10 000. Bread prices have been pushed up by wheat shortages as bakers are relying on imports.

The latest inflation figures show that Zimbabwe is suffering the highest inflation rate in the world. While several measures have been put in place to calm inflation, most were ill-fated. A UN sponsored report on Zimbabwe's economic revival says the country needs 12 years to get back where it was in the early 90's. About US$5 billion will be needed. (The Herald, Harare)

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