Zimbabwe inflation hits new record high

HARARE, Jan 10, 2007 (AFP) – Inflation in Zimbabwe hit a new record high of 1,281 percent on Thursday, puncturing government hopes of reining in the galloping rate which has left households struggling to make ends meet.

Figures released by the central statistics office (CSO) showed that the year-on-year inflation rate had risen by 182 percentage points in December from 1,098 percent in November.

The figures were published on the same day the country’s leading consumer watchdog produced a report which showed the average monthly bill for households in Zimbabwe shot up by 43 percent last month alone.

Acting CSO director Moffat Nyoni said the highest cost increases were in emergency medical services which rose 48,217 percent, electricity, gas and other fuels which went up by 3,542.1 percent and hospitals and clinic fees which which jumped by 3,447.5 percent.

“A bundle of goods and services that cost 100,000 dollars in December 2005 would on average cost 1,381,000 dollars in December 2006,” he said.

Zimbabwe is in the seventh year of economic recession characterised by high inflation, massive unemployment and chronic shortages of foreign currency and basic goods like fuel and the staple cornmeal.