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Zimbabwe Inflation, Still Highest In World, Tops 1,200%

After subsiding somewhat in July, Zimbabwe consumer inflation came roaring back in August to 1,204.6%, the country's Central Statistical Office announced Friday.

Annual inflation was 993.6% in July. Not only did 12-month cumulative inflation soar in August, but the month-on-month increase ticked up to 29.2% from 25.1% in July.

Inflation in recent months has been spurred by the central bank's 60% devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar on July 1 in launching a broad currency overhaul. Shortages of essential commodities from maize meal to fuel have also led prices higher.

The statistical agency's acting director, Moffat Nyoni, told journalists in Harare that the biggest increases were in paramedical services transport and handcarts. The biggest increases on a monthly basis were seen in school fees, medicine and taxes.

This latest batch of bad news for Zimbabwe consumers came five days late because the statistics office had trouble finding enough money to conduct the survey.

For perspective on the latest record-high inflation, reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to Harare economist John Robertson.

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