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Prices push inflation to 19.5 percent

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA’S inflation rate has reached 19.5 percent in November from 14.3 percent recorded last month. The increase has been attributed to the sharp rise in both food and non-food items.
Meanwhile, the country’s trade deficit in October was valued at about K2,584 million, representing a 22.4 percent increase from about K2.111 million recorded in September.
The Central Statistical Office (CSO) says of the five percent inflation rate increase recorded in November; 3.5 percentage points account for food and non-alcoholic beverages, while 1.5 percentage points represent non-food items.
Acting CSO director of census and statistics Goodson Sinyenga said at a media briefing yesterday that a comparison of retail prices between October and November 2, shows that the national average price of a 25Kilogramme bag of breakfast mealie-meal increased by 10.7 percent from K71.92 to K79.63.
“The annual rate of inflation, as measured by the all items and consumer price index for November, 2015, increased to 19.5 percent compared to 14.3 recorded in October, 2015. This means that on average, prices increased by 19.5 percent between November, 2014 and November, 2015.
“The annual food inflation rate for November 2015 was recorded at 23.4 percent compared to 16.2 percent recorded in October, 2015.This indicates an increase of 7.2 percentage points,” Mr Sinyenga said.
He said the annual non-food inflation for this month increased to 15.5 percent from 12.4 percent in October 2015, representing an increase of 3.1 percent.
Mr Sinyenga also said Zambia’s major export products in October, 2015 from the intermediate category such as copper cathodes among others, accounted for 75.8 percent.
Commenting on the trade shortfall, he said K2,583.8 million was the highest trade deficit recorded  so far this year, and the lowest was in February, valued at K73.6 million.

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