Zimbabwean consumer prices eased 1.1% in April after falling 3% in March, with firm food and non-alcoholic beverage prices slowing the decline, the Central Statistical Office said Friday.
Prices have been declining – inflation has been negative – since the country adopted a mix of hard currencies early this year and abandoned the hyperinflated Zimbabwe dollar.
Price declines are a relatively new experience for Zimbabweans who saw their cost of living rise in percentage increments measured in the billions, trillions and quadrillions as money printing by the central bank drove the Zimbabwe dollar to nearly complete worthlessness.
Ultimately consumers and businesses stopped using the debased currency and adopted the U.S. dollar and South African rand as the main units of exchange, leading the government to authorize the use multiple hard currencies and set aside the national currency.
The Zimbabwean dollar still changes hands among street vendors, however, who hand their customers Z$50 billion notes to make small change from hard currency notes.
Economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the lesser decline in April compared with March indicates that prices overall are stabilizing.
Economist Eric Bloch told reporter Blessing Zulu that the Zimbabwean economy is showing signs of recovering.