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Inflation declines, experts query data

by Staff reporter
19 Mar 2018 at 05:56hrs | Views
THE year-on-year inflation rate for the month of February stood at 2,98%, after shedding 0,54 percentage points on the January figure, the country's statistical agency has said.

In January, annual inflation was 3,52%.

This means that prices as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index increased by an average of 2,98% between February 2017 and February 2018, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) said.

In December 2017, annual inflation was 3,4% up from the 2,97% registered in November.

Economist Prosper Chitambara believes the figure does not reflect what is obtaining on the ground.

"There are some scholars who use purchasing power parity (PPP) to measure the inflation rate like Professor Steve Hanke. When you do that the inflation figure is higher than the 3% figure. I still think the official figures are underestimating the extent of the movement of price. It's not projecting the actual reality on the ground," he said.

This comes after Hanke has been giving out a much higher inflation rate using PPP which compares different countries' currencies through a market "basket of goods" approach.

Another economist, Persistence Gwanyanya weighed in saying the inflation rate in Zimbabwe was dependent on the cost of acquiring forex.

"But official data are not reflective of what's happening in the broader economy. There are a lot of things happening in the informal economy and that are not captured by Zimstat. There are two different economies in the country that is the informal and formal economy. It will be good if official data capture what's happening in the parallel economy," Gwanyanya said.

The country has been experiencing high commodity prices on the back of costly forex acquired from the black market.

However, there has been a marginal decrease of prices of certain goods partly because of a reduction in fuel prices.

The year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation that is prone to transitory shocks stood at 4, 35 % whilst the non-food inflation rate was 2, 33 %.

The month-on-month inflation rate in February 2018 was 0,08 % shedding 0,22 percentage points on the January 2018 rate of 0,30%.

The month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate stood at -0,18 % in February 2018, shedding 0,57 percentage points on the January 2018 rate of 0,39%. The month on month non-food inflation rate stood at 0,21%, shedding 0,04 percentage points on the January 2018 rate of 0,25 %.

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