Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S annual rate of inflation marginally shed 0,01 percentage points on the November figure to -2,47 percent as a weaker rand, more competition and tighter manufacturing management maintain pressure on prices. According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), prices decreased by an average -2,47 percent between December 2014 and December 2015.
Following the adoption of a multicurrency system in February 2009, the country has been using a basket of currencies dominated by the United States dollar and the weakening value of the rand continues to make imports especially from South Africa, cheaper for local retailers.
Most of the imported products especially food comes from South Africa. “The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of December 2015 as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at -2.47 percent, shedding 0.01 percentage points on the November 2015 rate of -2.46 percent.
“This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI decreased by an average of -2.47 percentage points between December 2014 and December 2015,” said Zimstat. It said the year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation prone to transitory shocks stood at -3.71 percent while the non-food inflation rate was -1.89 percent..
The month-on-month inflation rate last month was -0.11 percent shedding 0.27 percentage points on the November’s rate of 0.16 percent. The month-on-month food and non alcoholic beverages inflation rate stood at -0.21 percent in December 2015, shedding 0.25 percentage points on the November 2015 rate of 0.04 percent.
“The month-on-month non-food inflation rate stood at -0.06 percent, shedding -0.28 percentage points on the November 2015 rate of 0.22 percent.” Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s trade deficit widened to $3 billion in the first 11 months of last year compared to $2,97 billion recorded during the same period in 2014.
Last year, the country’s top trading partners according to Zimstat were South Africa, Singapore, Mozambique, China and Zambia. Economic analysts have attributed the widening of trade deficit to over reliance on foreign goods, most of which can be manufactured locally.