Prices in Zimbabwe kept declining in May, after a decade of hyperinflation that decimated the economy, the government said on Thursday.
Prices in Zimbabwe kept declining in May, after a decade of hyperinflation that decimated the economy and ended only when the local currency was abandoned this year, the government said on Thursday.
The month-on-month inflation rate in May was -1%, compared with -1,1% in April, the Central Statistical Office said in a statement.
The deflation seen since March marks a stunning turnaround for an economy that just six months ago had world-record hyperinflation estimated in multiples of billions.
This left the local currency worthless, prompting the government in January to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar and allow trading in US dollars or other foreign currencies.
The national statistics agency now calculates inflation based on US dollar prices, which have been declining since March.
Food prices declined more slowly in May, with the month-on-month rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation at -0,84%, compared with -2,91% in April.
Since trading in foreign currency was allowed, Zimbabwe’s once-deserted shops are again fully stocked with food.
But even with prices falling, few people can afford to buy food in a country where the unemployment rate is estimated at 94%.
Early this month, the United Nations Development Programme appealed for $718-million, which includes food aid for about half the population.
Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe’s economy has shrunk more than 40% over the past three years.
The unity government formed in February between long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his one-time rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is trying convince donors to give $8,5-billion to revive the economy and the civil service.
Tsvangirai met with United States President Barack Obama in Washington last week, but left with only $73-million in humanitarian aid. The United States and other Western countries say they are still concerned that Mugabe has not made enough political reforms.
Norway announced on Wednesday an increase in aid to about $31-million, while Germany has promised nearly $28-million through the World Bank.—AFP.