Zimbabwe issued its first official inflation statistics for three months yesterday, revealing a new record
high and confirming the ineffectiveness of Robert Mugabe's price control campaign.
Figures from Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office showed inflation reached 7,634.8 per cent in July, the
highest in the world. It was 7,251.1 per cent in June and 4,530 per cent in May, it added.
The precision of the inflation numbers is remarkable given the chaos of the Zimbabwean economy and some analysts
believe the real figure is much higher.
The International Monetary Fund has predicted inflation could reach 100,000 per cent by the end of the year
and Christopher Dell, the outgoing US ambassador, suggested 1.5 million per cent.
Publication of the figures had been suspended as Zimbabwe prepared to impose price controls two months ago.
The new statistics show that as well as ensuring empty supermarket shelves, by effectively ordering firms to produce and sell
at a loss, the measures failed to tame inflation. Many goods, particularly fuel, are available only on the black market.
Tony Hawkins, of the University of Zimbabwe's graduate school of business, said inflation was likely to accelerate
"The gradual relaxation of price controls, coupled with the explosive growth in money supply as well as the
movement in the exchange rate on the parallel market all point to an upsurge in inflation around September," he said.
"I'd be surprised if they can keep it below 10,000 per cent by the end of the year."
Some price controls were relaxed yesterday, with increases approved for the cost of several basic goods including
sugar, cooking oil, and transport fares.