Just in: Inflation races to 676%

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation for the month of March raced to 676,39% compared to 540.16% in February, the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) announced on Tuesday.

The month on month inflation rate in March was 26.59% gaining 13.07 percentage points on the February rate of 13.52%, Zimstat said.

This is Zimbabwe’s highest inflation rate since hyperinflation forced the country to abandon its currency in 2009.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has set a target of 50% for inflation by year end, but this seems fanciful, as the rate at which prices go up continues to skyrocket.

This is the second in 12 months that Zimbabwe is publishing annualised inflation results, after Finance minister Mthuli Ncube suspended the announcements for a year following the re-introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar.

There was optimism in official circles that the reintroduction of the local unit will stem inflation and boost production, but a shortage of foreign currency continues to place upward pressure on prices.

Last month, when Zimstat said inflation was at 540%, economist Steve Hanke, using his own model, estimated that it was 1 096%.

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