Something that puzzles me though is the inflation rate in Zimbabwe under the economic stewardship of one Robert Mugabe. The Associated Press report below confuses me as it is rather sloppily written. It first says that the inflation rate in February reached 165,000% according to government sources (compiling statistics for Zimbabwe's government strikes me as a fascinating occupation.) However, it then goes on to say that the real rate of inflation is more like 4,000,000% according to a more impartial source. Not only is change in the level of inflation confused with the level of inflation, but the periods compared may also different--i.e., monthly versus annualized:
Newsweek further adds to the confusion by noting that the level of inflation was 165,000% in February, and that Harare's Financial Gazette recently said the inflation rate hit an even more astounding 30,000,000%:
A German company that has been supplying paper used by Zimbabwe's central bank to print bank notes said Tuesday it is stopping shipments immediately at the request of Germany's government.
The move could be a new problem for the regime of President Robert Mugabe, which has been churning out currency amid skyrocketing inflation that forces Zimbabweans to shop with bundles of cash. A pint of milk can cost 3 billion Zimbabwe dollars, or about 30 U.S. cents.
Giesecke & Devrient GmbH of Munich said it would stop delivering bank note paper to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe "with immediate effect." It said the decision came in response to an official request from the German government and calls for international sanctions by the European Union and United Nations.
"Our decision is a reaction to the political tension in Zimbabwe, which is mounting significantly rather than easing as expected, and takes account of the critical evaluation by the international community, German government and general public," chief executive Karsten Ottenberg said in a statement.
Zimbabwe's currency needs have spiraled upward as a shattered economy spurs overheated inflation. Prices rose 165,000 percent in February, according to government figures, but independent experts say the real inflation rate is closer to 4 million percent.
Mugabe, who was sworn in as president for a sixth term Sunday after a widely discredited runoff election, was once hailed for leading Zimbabwe's independence fight. But he has grown increasingly unpopular for land seizures and other economic policies that wrecked the country's once-vibrant agriculture sector.
As Mugabe squeezed, Zimbabwe's already desperate economic crisis worsened. Inflation, which topped 165,000 percent in February (according to Reuters)—already the highest in the world—recently hit a mind-boggling 30 million percent, according to Harare's Financial Gazette. Bread sells on the black market for 3.5 billion Zimbabwean dollars a loaf. As the U.S. ambassador in Harare, James McGee, put it, "Mugabe turned Zimbabwe from the breadbasket of southern Africa into its basket case."Confusing, no? One thing's for sure--things cannot stay like this for long in Zimbabwe. When Mugabe goes, he's going like Elsie...[pardon the Cabaret overdose]