Zimbabwe inflation hits new record

Chandi Dharmaratne

HARARE, Sept 15, 2006 (AFP) – The annual rate of inflation in Zimbabwe reached a new record high of 1,204.6 percent in August, the central statistics office announced on Friday. The announcement of the new rise came after slight falls in the rate for June and July, which had raised hopes by central bank chief Gideon Gono that a corner had been turned in the fight against the “inflation dragon”.

The previous high of 1,193 percent was recorded in May.

The southern African country’s annual inflation rate has been on a rollercoaster ride since December 2004 when it shot up to 622.8 percent.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn for the past seven years, dogged by runaway inflation and massive unemployment. At least 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty threshold.