Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zim's empty shelves stop inflation estimate

from CNN:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- With virtually empty shelves in stores across the African nation, the state statistics office said Tuesday it couldn't calculate its regular monthly inflation figures....

Chief statistician Moffat Nyoni said goods used in calculating the average inflation basket were not available."There are too many data gaps"....


IHT reports:

"....Corn meal, bread, meat, cooking oil, sugar and other basic staples used to measure inflation largely disappeared from stores after a government order in June to slash prices of all goods and services by about half. Producers said they could not afford to sell their goods at below the cost of producing them.

About the only meat-based product on the shelves is sausages composed of about one-fourth low grade pork and the rest cereal. A package of six rose thirty-fold in price in the past month, to 20 million Zimbabwe dollars.

Most scarce products are available in limited quantities on the illegal black market at up to 10 times the government's fixed prices. If inflation was calculated on black market prices alone it would reach the IMF's prediction of at least 100,000 percent.

Last month, the central bank offered loans to businesses at 25 percent interest to restore supplies to shops. Interest of about 500 percent is charged on routine commercial bank loans.

But central bank loans have made little difference to the availability of basic goods so far, store managers say.....

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