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Zimbabwe May Inflation Jumps 144.4 Percent

Zimbabwe's inflation rate surged by 144.4 percent in the year to May from 129.1 percent the previous month, the Central Statistical Office said on Tuesday.

Month-on-month inflation added 5.8 percentage points to 13.1 percent in May from its April rate of 7.4 percent. Inflation has retreated from a record peak of 623 percent in January 2004, but remains among the highest in the world.

Last month the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sharply revised upwards its inflation target for 2005 to between 50 and 80 percent from 20 to 35 percent, citing drought, high rentals, rates and fees by local authorities and electricity costs.

President Robert Mugabe's government has singled out inflation as the biggest scourge of an economy which has suffered six years of recession, but rejects critics charges that this is a result of its mismanagement.

Mugabe, 81 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies mismanaging the economy, arguing in turn that it has fallen victim to sabotage by opponents of his seizure of white-owned commercial farms for landless blacks.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.