Consumer prices, inflation continue rising

Consumer prices, inflation continue rising

zambiaConsumer prices have accelerated for a sixth consecutive month to a fresh 12-year high amid a power crisis and currency weakness.

Prices have risen by 21.8 percent year-on-year in January from 21.1 percent in December 2015, the Central Statistical Office.

Prices rose 1.3 percent in January from the previous month, it said.

Inflation has climbed from 7.7 percent in September after the nation’s currency plunged against the dollar as metals prices fell and the fiscal deficit widened. An electricity shortfall that’s led to daily rationing lasting as long as 14 hours for businesses has cut output and increased costs. The central bank increased its key lending rate to a record 15.5 percent in November to try contain prices.

Food inflation accelerated to 25.9 percent in January from 24.8 percent as corn and bread prices prices rose, according to data from the statistics agency.

Zambia’s trade deficit narrowed to 778.8 million kwacha ($69 million) in December from a revised 1.22 billion kwacha the month before. The value of metal exports fell 6.4 percent, the Central Statistical Office data showed. Imports fell to 7.8 billion kwacha last month from 9.4 billion kwacha in November.

The kwacha weakened 0.1 percent to 11.25 per dollar by 11:15 a.m. in Lusaka.

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