Zimbabwe annual inflation over 100,000-pct official figures

HARARE, 2008 (AFP) – Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate has soared to over 100,000 percent, weeks ahead of elections in the southern African country, according to official figures obtained by AFP on Wednesday. “The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of January 2008, as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 100,580.2 percent, gaining 34,367.9 percentage points on the December rate of 66,212.3 percent,” the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said in a statement.

“This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI increased by an average of 100,580.2 percent between January 2007 and January 2008.”

Inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages reached 105,428.0 percent while non-food inflation was 97,885.7 percent,” said the statement.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been in a tailspin for the past seven years, characterised by shortages of basic commodities like sugar, cooking oil and petrol.

While the products are readily available on a burgeoning black market, many Zimbabweans have resorted to buying their essentials from neighbouring countries like Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.

At least 80 percent of the population is living below the poverty threshold, o