Zimbabwe inflation soars to 540%

Agence France-Presse
The inflation rate in Zimbabwe surges to 540.16% in February 2020

TOUGH TIMES. An elderly woman cooks at her home in Emakhandeni Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on March 2, 2019. File photo by Zinyange Auntony/AFP

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s annual inflation soared to over 500% in February, the country’s statistical agency said Monday, March 16, releasing its first consumer price data since June last year.

“The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of February as measured by the all-items CPI (consumer price index) stood at 540.16%,” the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency tweeted.

Zimbabwe last year suspended the publication of annualized consumer price data in June, when inflation was at 176%.

The local currency has fallen from parity against the United States dollar a year ago, to around 18 Zimbabwean dollars (ZWL) per greenback although on the black market the rate is over 30.

In February 2019, Zimbabwe launched currency reforms including reintroducing the local currency and banning the use of the US dollar in a bid to solve a chronic monetary crisis.

The US dollar had been the national currency since 2009 when the country trashed its own worthless currency when hyperinflation reached 500 billion percent.

The latest inflation figures are stoking fears of a return of the kind of hyperinflation that wiped out savings 10 years ago when the economy collapsed and prices of goods and services skyrocketed everyday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on taking over from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe, promised to revive the economy.

But nearly two years later, the economy is floundering, with many goods including fuel, medicines, and the staple cornmeal in short supply and many Zimbabweans saying they are worse off than they were under Mugabe. – Rappler.com