HARARE (Bloomberg) –Zimbabwe continued on its march back to hyperinflation in June, adding to the nation’s economic woes.
While annual inflation slowed for the first time in five months to 737.3% from 785.6% in May, the monthly inflation rate more than doubled to 31.7%, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said Tuesday on Twitter. International Monetary Fund studies define hyperinflation as beginning when monthly price increases exceed 50%.
The southern African nation is struggling with food and fuel shortages and a local currency that has imploded since being reintroduced last year after a decade-long hiatus. The previous bout of hyperinflation, during which the annual rate of price growth surged to 500 billion percent, according to the IMF, forced the government to drop the Zimbabwe dollar and foreign currencies became legal tender in 2009.
Bankers in the country this week joined nurses, doctors and other health-care professionals demanding to be paid in U.S. dollars to cushion themselves against soaring inflation and the depreciating local currency. The Zimbabwe dollar has slumped to 65.8765 against the greenback after a 25:1 peg put introduced in March was abandoned.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has been closed since June 28 and the central bank banned bulk payments on mobile-money platforms which authorities blame for undermining the local currency.