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Zimbabwe’s monthly inflation rate more than doubled in October as food costs surged, bringing the nation closer to a new bout of hyperinflation.
Monthly inflation accelerated to 38.8% from 17.7% from in September, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said in an emailed statement Friday. That’s the highest rate since June.
- Food prices rose 48.4% in the month, compared with 19.6% in September, as the worst regional drought in almost 40 years hit supplies and left about half of Zimbabwe’s 14 million people without reliable access to enough to eat.
- The drought continues and non-food inflation could also be pushed up further after the government unveiled it plans to boost spending in 2020 in an attempt to kick-start an economy that’s forecast to shrink this year.
- Zimbabwe abandoned its own dollar ten years ago after hyperinflation rendered it valueless. The statistics office suspended the release of annual inflation data for six months from August, saying it wants to collect comparable data after the introduction of a new currency earlier this year. International Monetary Fund studies define hyperinflation as beginning when monthly price increases exceed 50%.
- Zimbabwe’s official annual inflation rate was the second highest in the world, at 176%, when the statistics office suspended the data.