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After Brief Respite, the Cost of Living Is Rising Again for Zimbabweans

Consumer prices are on the rise again in Zimbabwe according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe which reported an 8% rise in April in the cost of a a basket of key goods.

The monthly surge was led by a 28% rise in rents, the Consumer Council said.

An urban family of six now needs US$427 a month to get by – but civil servants and many private sector employees are earning just US$100 a month, if that.

Economist Nyasha Muchichwa of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that costs have risen in part due to a tightening in imports from neighboring South Africa.

Though the rate of inflation implied in the cost increases measured by the Consumer Council are quite modest compared with the astronomical percent increases in prices witnessed in the country earlier this year as hyperinflation raged, they are of concern in absolute terms given the limited purchasing power of average Zimbabweans. In addition, the country's Central Statistical Office had been reporting price declines in recent reporting periods.

General prices eased about 3% in each of the past few months, the CSO said.

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