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Zimbabwe Consumer Prices Up 0.4% in August, Year-to-Date Down 8.5%


Consumer prices in Zimbabwe increased 0.4% in August after rising 1% in July, the Central Statistical Office said. But prices have fallen 8.5% since the beginning of 2009 taking into account declines totaling more than 10% in the January through May period.

The rate at which prices were increasing slowed in August from July mainly due to lower prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages, the statistical service said.

Though prices are rising, the increase is quite small compared with the 231 million percent official inflation rate seen in 2008 before the statistical office stopped issuing data. Private-sector economists estimated the inflation rate in sextillions of percentage points and Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is exceeded only by that of Hungary in 1946.

Chief Economist Kuda Ndoro of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that inflation in the country is starting to be influenced by international economic and financial conditions and factors.

Elsewhere, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told journalists in Harare that if Zimbabwe accepts hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in global economic crisis assistance received from the International Monetary Fund, most of that money will go to rebuild infrastructure.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from Harare.

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

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