RBZ says month-on-month inflation down by further 2.97%, contradicts Zimstat 

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By Alois Vinga

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s latest monthly economic review for August 2019 shows inflation in Zimbabwe, measured on a monthly basis has gone down by a further 2.97 %.

The claim contradicts recent figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics (Zimstat).

The monthly review shows that the reductions were recorded in food and non-food items which include education, health and footwear.

“Month-on-month inflation for August 2019, decelerated further to 18.07%, from 21.04% recorded in July 2019. This was on account of decelerations in both food and non-food inflation,” the RBZ said.

The report said monthly food inflation stood at 19 % in August 2019, down from 20 % in July 2019.

Declines in meat, vegetables, milk cheese and eggs underpinned the slowdown. Similarly, non-food inflation retreated from 22 % in July 2019 to 18 %, during the month under analysis.

Education, health, clothing and footwear, furniture and equipment contributed to the deceleration in monthly non-food inflation.

However, the details contained in the report are inconsistent with recent Zimstat reporting an average Zimbabwean family of five people now requires at least $2 192 as of  September this year to meet its basic needs for it not to be deemed poor, a 20% jump from the previous month.

In August, the same family required $1 827 but the statistics agency said prices of goods and services have continued to go up since the beginning of the year on the back of a loss in value of the local currency against major currencies, especially the United States dollar.

“The TCPL (Total Consumption Poverty Line) for an average of five persons stood at $2 191.62 in September 2019,” Zimstat said.

The statistics agency also said during the same month, an individual now requires $176.61, up from $145.06 in August.

Recently, Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube estimated the country’s inflation to end the year at 10% with expectations that it will reduce further to a single digit by the end of 2020.

According to the 2020 pre-budget strategy paper the Treasury boss hinged the inflation decline prediction on the strengths of outlawing the multi-currency basket.

In June following the announcement of the new currency and discontinuation of the multi-currency regime, Ncube stopped Zimstat from publishing year-on-year inflation figures arguing these had been distorted by the currency reforms.