BY BUSINESS REPORTER
ZIMBABWE’S year-on-year inflation for February 2019 as measured by the all-items consumer price index (CPI)grew by 2,49 percentage points to 59,39% driven by food and non-alcoholic beverages, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) said on Friday.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation, which is prone to transitory shocks, stood at 69,84% whilst the non-food inflation rate was 54,35%.
According to Zimstat, the month-on-month inflation rate in February was 1,67%, shedding 9,08 percentage points on the January rate of 10,75%.
This means that prices as measured by the all-items CPI increased by an average rate of 1,67% from January to February.
The month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate stood at 3,56% in February, shedding 3,38 percentage points on the January 2019 rate of 6, 94%.
The month-on-month non-food inflation rate stood at 0,70%, shedding 12,13 percentage points on the January rate of 12,83%.
The government figures, however, remain heavily contested, given actual developments on the ground, which have seen prices of fuel and other basic commodities going up by more than 100% and in some instances actually increasing more than threefold.
American economist Steve Hanke estimates that Zimbabwe’s cumulative inflation rate as of December was 186%, second only to Venezuela, which is grappling with runaway inflation.
The South American economy is imploding, with the inflation rate set to hit nearly 1,4 million percent this year, according to forecasts by the International Monetary fund in its world economic Outlook. It is seen reaching 10 million percent in 2019.
Just like Zimbabwe, which went through a similar devastating bout a decade ago, Venezuela is being left out of the inflation calculations for the region and for all emerging markets since that would throw off the average.
Zimbabwe’s inflation reached 500 billion percent in 2008, rendering the local currency worthless and leaving savings and pensions useless.