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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 12:39 GMT
Zimbabwean inflation hits 1,281%
Bread price protest in early 2006
Money worries have prompted many Zimbabweans to take strike action
Inflation in Zimbabwe has continued to spiral upwards, reaching an annual rate of 1,281.1% in December.

Domestic energy, gas and other fuel costs were behind the rise, the Central Statistics Office said.

On a month-on-month basis, inflation increased to 36.3% in December from 30.1% a month earlier.

Surging inflation has been blamed for a significant rise in the cost of living, and analysts have warned rising prices could prompt widespread protests.

Already the public health system has ground to a halt as nurses and doctors have walked out on strike amid demands for a significant wage increase.

Costs surge

As the figures were released, further research by the independent Consumer Council showed the cost of living in the country had jumped by 43% over the past month.

School fees recorded the biggest increase of 262%, while the cost of bread rose 180%.

The southern African country is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980.

Many experts blame the government's mismanagement of the economy for the problems, but President Robert Mugabe says they are a result of domestic and foreign enemies.

The country has also been dogged by shortages of foreign currency to pay for fuel and food, which experts have blamed largely on disruptions to the agriculture-based economy after the seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms began in 2000.

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