Zimbabwe’s October inflation at 20.85 percent, highest since 2008

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s October inflation raced to its highest since 2008 following a surge in prices of cooking oil, flour and sugar, the statistical agency Zimstat said on Tuesday, as the country faces a dollar shortage.

The southern African nation adopted the U.S. dollar in 2009 after dumping its hyperinflation-wrecked currency, which saw inflation fall to single digits.

Some business in Zimbabwe are now demanding cash U.S. dollars only and have raised prices by more than three times for the majority who pay in bond note.

Prices of basic goods rose when the value of the surrogate bond note and electronic dollars collapsed on the parallel market last month, leading to panic buying by consumers.

Inflation shot to 20.85 percent year-on-year in October from 5.39 percent in September, the statistics agency said.

On a monthly basis, prices jumped by 16.44 percent during the same period from 0.92 percent in September.

Zimstat stopped publishing official inflation data in September 2008 when it reached 236 million percent, but the International Monetary Fund put the figure at 500 billion percent. The statistics agency resumed running inflation figures in February 2009.