Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 16:14 UK

Zimbabwe inflation hits 165,000%

Zimbabwe $10m note
A 10 million Zimbabwe dollar note was issued this year

Zimbabwe's soaring inflation hit an annual rate of almost 165,000% in February, official figures show.

Continuing shortages of food and fuel helped to push up inflation from January's rate of 100,000%.

Government officials say the shortages make it hard to work out inflation with any degree of accuracy.

About 80% of the country's population lives in poverty and it is estimated that three million people have left the country for a new life in South Africa.

New notes

The economy has been in trouble for several years, with supplies of basic foodstuffs, cooking oil and petrol all running low.

The central bank has introduced new banknotes to cope with the spiralling prices.

Last month it issued a 10 million Zimbabwe dollar note.

The leadership of Zimbabwe is in doubt following elections last month.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will not contest a run-off election unless certain conditions are met, a spokesman for his party says.

Mr Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), believes he won last month's election against President Robert Mugabe outright.


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