Inflation Shock at 42.1%; Adds to Harare’s Woes

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By Agencies

Zimbabwean consumer prices rose at a new post-hyperinflation record pace in December, adding to the economic woes of a country that’s reeling from foreign-exchange and fuel shortages.

Inflation accelerated to 42.1 percent, from 31 percent in the previous month, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said in a statement emailed Thursday.

While that’s well below the 500 billion percent the International Monetary Fund estimated it reached in 2008, there are big price discrepancies depending on whether goods are paid for electronically or with banknotes, casting doubt on the official figure.

The country was rocked by protests this week as labour unions went on strike and people marched against massive fuel-price increases announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The president on Wednesday called for calm as he vowed to tackle the “monumental task” of fixing the shattered economy that has sparked violent protests this week.

“Resolving Zimbabwe’s economic challenges is a monumental task… We are moving in the right direction. We will get there,” he said on Twitter. “I call for calm and peace from all of our brothers and sisters.”