Zimbabwe inflation eases

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IOL news dec29 zimbabwe AP File photo.

Harare - Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate eased to 2.91 percent in December, down from 2.99 percent the previous month due to reduced food and clothing costs, the national statistics agency said Tuesday.

The monthly inflation rate for December remained steady at 0.13 percent.

Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate has remained below 5.0 percent since the country dumped its hyper-inflation ravaged dollar for the US dollar and the South African rand in 2009.

Goods that had vanished from store shelves at the peak of a post-election crisis, are now in abundance. Prices, however, fluctuate according to import costs.

A one-time regional bread basket, Zimbabwe has in recent years battled to feed itself after President Robert Mugabe embarked on a campaign to expropriate white-owned farmland and the country slipped into a political and economic crisis.

The country now relies on imports mainly from the neighbouring economic giant South Africa.

While the humanitarian situation has recently improved, the United Nations on Tuesday said the country will this year require $131 million in aid mainly for food after crop failure due to erratic rains, shortage of inputs and poor farming practices.

Part of the funds will also be channelled to the prevention of diseases after a cholera outbreak four years ago killed more than 4,200 people and infected nearly 100,000 people.

President Robert Mugabe and his long-time political foe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were in 2009 forced into a power-sharing government following the 2008 violence-marred elections. - Sapa-AFP

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