By Thabani Zwelibanzi
The rate of inflation continued on an upward trend, with the year on year rate rising from 66.8% in April to 75.86% latest figures from the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) show.
In simple terms, Zimstat says the price of goods and services went up by 75.86% between April 2018 and April 2019.
The agency said the year on year food and non alcoholic beverages inflation, which is prone to transitory shocks, stood at 92.52%, while the non-food inflation rate was 68.17%.
Zimstat changed the way it calculated inflation at the beginning of March 2019 and had it continued using the older index, the inflation rate for March would have been 175%.
Interestingly, Zimstat collected inflation data between April 11 and 17, meaning the prices could have been much higher at the end of the month.
On a month to month basis, Zimstat said the inflation rate in April 2019 was 5.52% gaining 1.14 percentage points on the March 2019 rate of 4.38 percent.
“The month on month food and non alcoholic beverages inflation rate stood at 7.85% in April 2019, gaining 2.75 percentage points on the March 2019 rate of 5.10 percent. The month on month non-food inflation rate stood at 4.45 percent, gaining 0.40 percentage points on the March 2019 rate of 4.05 percent,” the agency said.
The latest figures will cause headaches for authorities, who have projected that inflation would come down to single digits by the end of the year.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has projected that inflation will start tapering off In September and closing off the year in single digits.
Probably taking a cue from Ncube, the International Monetary Fund has projected that the rate of inflation will be at 10.9% at year end.
On the other hand, the central bank has forecast that inflation would close of the year at 15%.
However, economist, Steve Hanke, who is running his own parallel inflation monitoring, estimates that Zimbabwe’s inflation is 238%, the second highest in the world after Venezuela.
Zimbabwe’s inflation figures peaked in 2008 before a sharp decline that was sustained through 2018.
Since then the rate has been surging raising the spectre that there could be a return to the dark days of hyperinflation.