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Zimbabwe Annual Inflation Slows in December But Pickup Seen in Early 2011

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Though current inflation rates are challenging Zimbabwean households, the scale is far from the astronomical inflation rates registered in 2008 as hyperinflation raged and living standards plunged

Consumer inflation in Zimbabwe slowed in December to a 12-month rate of 3.4 percent from 4.2 percent in November, the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency said Tuesday.

Prices declined by four tenths of one percent in the month.

Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch warned however that the easing of inflation pressures may be short-lived due to a recent spike in fuel prices in particular.

Bloch told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that he sees inflation picking up this month and February. "A recent hike in fuel prices will definitely push inflation upwards, and I predict a 5 or 6 percent year-on-year rate by the end of January," he said.

Buletsi Nyathi, a resident of Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, said recent increases in the price of key commodities are straining family budgets.

"The price increases are small, but wide-ranging and having a negative impact on our budgets," observed Nyathi. "Families are barely getting by."

Though current inflation rates are challenging Zimbabwean households, the scale is far from the astronomical inflation rates registered in 2008 as hyperinflation raged, fueled by the massive printing of money by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

But that hyperinflationary spike ended when Zimbabwe abandoned its debased dollar and turned to a monetary regimen using a mixture of foreign currencies including the US dollar, the South African rand and the Botswana pula.

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