Consumer Inflation Eases In March

Consumer price inflation (CPI) edged lower to 2.26 percent in March 2021, down from 3.45 percent in February- the lowest monthly movement in the past 12 months, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) has said.

The month on month Food and Non Alcoholic Beverages inflation rate stood at 2.52 percent in March 2021, shedding 1.90 percentage points on the February 2021 rate of 4.42 percent.

The month on month non-food inflation rate stood at 2.06 percent, shedding 0.67 percentage points on the February 2021 rate of 2.73 percent.

“The month on month inflation rate in March 2021 was 2.26 percent shedding 1.19 percentage points on the February 2021 rate of 3.45 percent. This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI increased by an average rate of 2.26 percent from February 2021 to March 2021,” said Zimstat.

Month on month inflation peaked at 35.5 percent in July last year as inflation pressures mounted largely due to the exchange rate movements.

The year on year inflation rate (annual percentage change) for the month of March 2021 as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 240.55 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is targeting to lower annual inflation to double digit figures by year end after it reached over 800 percent last year although its yet to sustainably suppress inflationary pressures particularly, the exchange rate movements.

“The widening spread between Zimbabwe’s formal exchange rate (US$1: ZW$84.11) and the parallel market rate (US$1: ZW$130) is creating a fertile for market instability in the short to medium term. The spread creates unhealthy arbitrage opportunities on the marketing of entirely all major commodities and skews prices towards the parallel market rate,” said economic analyst, Victor Bhoroma.

The recent monthly inflation slowdown since January to date is widely perceived as a reflection of the impact of COVID-19 restrictions imposed in January rather than a genuine ease in prices.

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