Zambian Inflation Quickens for Fourth Straight Month In December

Zambian inflation quickened for the fourth straight month in December due to food prices.

Consumer prices rose 19.2% from a year earlier, compared with 17.4% in November, Mulenga Musepa, the interim statistician general at the Zambia Statistics Agency, told reporters in Lusaka, the capital. Costs increased 3.2% in the month.

Annual food inflation accelerated to 20.2% in December, a four-year high, from 16.8% a month earlier. That was mainly driven by fish, meat and cooking-oil prices, Musepa said. Price growth has exceeded the central bank’s target band of 6% to 8% for 20 months and is forecast to remain above the range for the next two years, according to the Bank of Zambia.

The kwacha has lost a third of its value against the dollar since the start of 2020, helping to spur inflation.

The southern African nation, the continent’s first pandemic-era sovereign default, has formally requested a financing arrangement with the International Monetary Fund to support its reform efforts, the Washington-based lender said earlier this month.

Zambia to date has recorded 20,462 Covid-19 cases and 386 deaths.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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