October inflation highest in 10 years

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Business Writer
Zimbabwe’s October 2018 inflation rate rose to 20,85 percent, evoking hyperinflation memories that the country experienced before Government abandoned its local currency and dollarised in 2009. In 2008, the country’s inflation rate topped 231 million percent. Current inflation figures are however still far from reaching those levels.

The year on year inflation rate for the month of October 2018 as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 20,85 percent, gaining 15,46 percentage points on the September 2018 rate of 5,39 percent.

This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI increased by an average of 20,85 percent between October 2017 and October 2018.

Food prices skyrocketed amid shortages and panic buying that engulfed the nation in the month of October.

The year-on-year Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation prone to transitory shocks stood at 26,78 percent while the non-food inflation rate was 18,06 percent.

This, observers say, was triggered by shortage of foreign currency to pay for critical imports such as fuel, wheat, and soya bean for cooking oil.

The CPI for the month ending October 2018 stood at 118,73 compared to 101,97 in September 2018 and 98,24 in October 2017.

Economist John Robertson in a comment said, the October spike is very unlikely to be matched by the figures collected for November.

He said in December and January, sales volumes are likely to be lower than normal because of the higher than usual volumes sold in October.

“This is also likely to influence retailers’ pricing policies while, hopefully, stability returns. That stability has to be built on increasing production volumes as well as on balancing the budget and adopting policies that will attract investors.

“Next week’s National Budget Statement will perhaps indicate whether the authorities are brave enough to take the right steps,” said Robertson.

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