Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate hit 175 percent in June, official data showed Monday, stoking fears of a return of the hyperinflation that wiped out savings ten years ago when the economy collapsed.
Official inflation is the highest since hyperinflation forced the government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009.
In 2009 hyperinflation hit 500 billion percent.
“The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of June 2019 as measured by the all items consumer price index stood at 175.66 percent while that of May 2019 was 97.85 percent,” the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency said in a statement.
Many Zimbabweans are now seeking to leave as conditions worsen under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had promised an economic revival after he succeeding long-ruling Robert Mugabe in 2017.
Mnangagwa vowed to end the country’s international isolation, attract investors and create growth that could fund the country’s shattered public services.
But the economy has declined further, with shop prices rocketing and long power cuts.
Supplies of essentials such as bread, medicine and petrol are regularly running short in the country.
In June, Zimbabwe ended the use of US dollars and other foreign currencies and replaced them by two local parallel currencies — “bond notes” and electronic RTGS dollars, which would combine to become the new “Zimbabwe dollar”.
The national unit has fallen 27.9% percent since and reached 8.77 against the dollar in official exchanges on Monday. On the black market, the greenback fetched 10.5 Zimbabwe dollars on Monday.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said last week he expected the monthly inflation rate to start to fall from October.
But analysts have warned that inflationary pressures will remain high, particularly at a time when the government is having to step up food imports to cope with a severe drought.