Harare - Zimbabwe's central bank chief has promised to bring down soaring inflation rates, saying the struggling southern African country is going through "the darkest hour before dawn", the state- controlled Herald newspaper reported Wednesday.

Annual inflation reached 359,8 per cent this week, making it one of the highest rates in the world.

But Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said the "upward trend" would soon be reversed, the Herald reported.

"This is the darkest hour before dawn and we should never underestimate monetary authorities' ability to deal with the adversity. It has been done before and it will be done again," he told the newspaper.

Previously Gono had vowed that inflation would fall to 80 per cent by the end of the year. But private economists say the rate is likely to keep climbing to more than 400 per cent.

Criticising recent farm invasions, the governor said it was the "responsibility of every Zimbabwean to ensure the fight against inflation would ultimately be won," the Herald said.

"If you invade a coffee, tea, cocoa, wheat or a fruit farm what you are doing is to undermine the productive capacity of this economy, therefore causing inflation," Gono said.

White farmers have reported a fresh wave of land invasions in Nyazura and Chipinge districts in the eastern Manicaland province.

President Robert Mugabe's government launched a controversial land reform programme in 2000.

Mugabe has blamed repeated poor yields since then on drought. - Sapa-dpa