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Zimbabwe inflation hits 11,200,000 percent

  • Story Highlights
  • Zimbabwe's inflation rate soars to 11.2 million percent
  • A loaf of bread costs 1.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars
  • Official rate is world's highest but some analysts fear it may be more
  • Zimbabwe officials blame international sanctions and rising global food prices
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HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's inflation rate has soared in the past three months and is now at 11.2 million percent, the highest in the world, according to the country's Central Statistical Office.

Zimbabwe's inflation rate has soared to a world high.

Official figures dated Monday show inflation has surged from the rate of 2.2 million percent recorded in May, despite the government's price controls.

The country's finance minister confirmed the new figure in an interview but said the rising inflation rate was not confined to Zimbabwe alone.

"While our case has been aggravated by the illegal sanctions imposed by the Western powers, rising food prices are a world phenomenon because of the use of bio-fuel," said Samuel Mumbengegwi. "But we will continue to fight inflation by making sure that prices charged are realistic."

In February, the price of a loaf of bread in the country was less than 200,000 Zimbabwe dollars. On Monday, that same loaf of bread cost 1.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

Analysts have said the Zimbabwean government's official inflation rate figures are conservative. Last week, one of Zimbabwe's leading banks, Kingdom Bank, said the country's inflation rate was now more than 20 million percent.

The locally-owned bank predicted tougher times ahead for Zimbabwe in the absence of donor support and foreign investment in an economy that has been in freefall for almost a decade.

Once considered the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has been in the throes of an economic meltdown ever since the country embarked on a chaotic land reform program that has decimated commercial agriculture.

Analysts say the crisis has worsened following President Robert Mugabe's disputed reelection in the June 27 presidential run-off. His challenger Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the race over widespread allegations of violence and voter intimidation.

The economic crisis has destroyed Zimbabwe's currency and made it difficult for Zimbabweans to buy basic commodities, electricity, fuel, and medicines. Many Zimbabweans have left the country amid rising unemployment and deepening poverty.

Last week a summit in South Africa of regional African leaders failed to persuade Zimbabwe's political parties to agree to form a government of national unity, which observers view as the best way to end Zimbabwe's record recession.

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