Zimbabwe’s inflation rate soars to new high

HARARE, June 9, 2006 (AFP) – The inflation rate in economically-ravaged Zimbabwe soared to a new record high of 1,193.5 percent for May, officials said on Friday, with economists predicting even higher rates in the coming months. “The year-on-year rate of inflation in May 2006 was 1,193.5 percent, gaining 150.6 percentage points on the April rate of 1,042.9 percent,” said Moffat Nyoni, acting director of the Central Statistical Office (CSO).

“This means that on average, goods and services normally purchased by households for final use in Zimbabwe were about 13 times as expensive in May 2006 as they had been 12 months before,” he told a news conference in Harare.

A bundle of goods and services priced at 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars a year ago cost more than one million dollars in May.

Items that showed the highest year-on-year increases were medical services (11,029.9 percent), postal services (5,180.4 percent) and hairdressing (4,665.6 percent).

Month-on-month the highest increases were in paramedical fees (7,500.7 percent) and medical fees (1,042.7 perecent).

Zimbabwe’s inflation rate crossed the 1,000-percent threshold to reach a world-record high of 1,042.9 percent in April.

It set off a spate of price i