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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Zimbabwe's inflation steams ahead
Children scavenge for food in Zimbabwe
Four million face food shortages say UN agencies
Zimbabwe's inflation rate has continued its upward trend, reaching 1,193.5% in May, and putting an ever greater strain on the country's struggling economy.

The latest rise represents a climb of 150.6% on April's figure which was just above 1000%, the Central Statistics Office said.

It means goods cost about 13 times what they did a year ago, compounding the hardship many Zimbabweans experience.

Analysts are now predicting that inflation could hit 1,800% by year-end.

Printing money

Zimbabwe has been dogged by shortages of foreign currency to pay for fuel and food, and unemployment has reached over 70%.

The Reserve Bank's governor Gideon Gono meanwhile said the bank would not hesitate to issue further currency denominations.

Last week the Reserve Bank issued a new 100,000 Zimbabwean dollar note (equivalent to just under $1), to accommodate rocketing prices.

Inflation will continue to climb "as long as the factors driving it are not addressed," said Daniel Ndhela, an independent economic analyst.

Land reform

President Robert Mugabe denies claims that government policies, including land reforms, have contributed to these problems.

Mr Mugabe instead blames domestic and foreign enemies for the country's difficulties.

But many analysts have said the ruling party played a key role in precipitating the crisis.

They argue the government aggravated the situation when it took control of land owned by white farmers, which triggered a sharp drop in production and exports of agricultural goods.

According the United Nations agencies, over 4 million of the country's 13 million people face food shortages.

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04 Mar 06 |  Africa
Country profile: Zimbabwe
13 Jan 06 |  Country profiles

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