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No respite for consumers as inflation hits 40-month high to 0.48pc

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No respite for consumers as inflation hits 40-month high to 0.48pc

HARARE- The country’s April inflation rate has unremittingly continued on a determined rise, gaining 0.27 percent on the March rate to stand at 0.48 percent in April, a forty-month high, data from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) shows. The last record of inflation above the April 2017 rate was recorded in November 2013 when it was 0.5 percent.

The main items which registered high price surges were secondary education (4.26%), vegetables (1.66%), pre-primary and primary education (2.07%), major tools and equipment (0.79%), accommodation (1.27%) and other personal effects (0.45%). Other usual suspects which contributed to the inflation increase were gas (4.25%), liquid fuels (1.14%) and fish and sea food (0.44%).

However, dozens of other products also recorded prices decreases, and these include electrical appliances for personal care (-1.02%), bread and cereals (-0.75%), oils and fats (-0.85%), milk, cheese and eggs (-0.51%) and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionary (-0.54%). Price decreases were also noted in cocoa, tea and coffee (-0.44%) and spare parts (-0.67%).

The price of meat also declined by 0.94 percent, as stability in the pricing of the commodity starts to kick in. The price of meat gained in February and early March, following the imposition of a 15 percent VAT on meat and some basic commodities by government, a move which was later reversed after a public outcry.

“The month on month inflation rate in April 2017 was 0.05 percent gaining 0.02 percentage points on the March 2017 rate of 0.03 percent”, said Zimstat.

The fast-paced increase in inflation translates to a consumer spending squeeze that will leave household incomes under pressure as they will be faced by a situation whereby their wages won’t keep up with the prices of goods and services. This also raise questions on whether the central bank is adequately resourced with effective tools to deal with inflation and whether a hawkish approach is already necessary.

Month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation however eased -0.36 percent in April 2017, shedding 0.15 percent March 2017.

“The month on month non-food inflation rate stood at 0.25 per-cent, gaining 0.10 percentage points on the March 2017 rate of 0.15 percent”, said Zimstat.

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