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Cost Of Living Surges 26% In October, Straining Zimbabwe Budgets

The cost of living for families in Zimbabwe rose more than 26% in October, said Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, substantially tightening conditions for workers whose incomes on average are only about one-fifth of that nominal living cost.

The cost of a basket of essential goods and services surged to more than Z$141,000 or around US$565 at the official rate of Z$250 to the U.S. dollar, compared with Z$112,000 (US$450) in September. The increase was driven by a 68% rise in health care costs, with sugar and powdered detergent also posting notable gains.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze, director of the Labor and Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that costs keep spiraling upward because government spending is out of control and the central bank continues to print money aggressively to fund budget overruns.

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