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Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe Reckons 2007 Inflation Totaled 24,000%

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has estimated that inflation over the past 12 months has totaled 24,000%, compared with its last estimated of 14,000% in October, this in a circular sent to financial institutions to help them close their 2007 books.

Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office stopped providing data on inflation in September saying it could not find prices for key goods because they were not on store shelves. But the Reserve bank came up with the estimate for the use of financial institutions and publicly trade companies in drawing up their financial accounts for the year.

A memo leaked from the central bank told institutions and companies that "you are hereby advised to use the 24,059 percent year-on-year inflation figure for November in the compilation of financial results for the period ending December 2007."

Recent estimates of Zimbabwean inflation by independent economists have tended to run quite a bit higher, ranging from 50,000% to 100,000%.

Economist Prosper Chitambara told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the central bank estimate of 24,000% is "conservative."

But economist Eric Bloch, who has been a consultant to the central bank, said he reckons the 12-month inflation rate to be around 25,000%.

An IMF official recently said Zimbabwe was heading down the same path as Weimar Germany, though if the more pessimistic current estimates are correct, the country has already exceeded the Weimar peak of 32,400% attained in 1923. However, it has a ways yet to go to match Yugoslavia's 1994 rate of 313 million percent (both figures cited by monetary expert Steve Hanke in Forbes in June 2007).

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...