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Cost Of Living Continues To Soar

Zimbabwe continues to face economic decline as indicated by the high rate of unemployment, cash shortages, power cuts, foreign exchange rate disparities, weakening currency and price hikes. According to the World Bank, Zimbabwe has the highest food inflation reaching up to 321% year-on-year.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a family of six now requires $1 million a month to survive, up from ZWL$611,275 in April, reflecting the depth of the Zimbabwean dollar’s crash and resultant price spikes. A low-income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six stands currently at ZWL$1,015,962.61. An individual person now requires about $ZWL169, 327.10 to survive for a month. The cost of living has risen by 62% between April and May, while the prices of goods and services in United States dollars had gone down by 31,4 %.

Latest statistics by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show that the annual inflation shot by 11, 3 percentage points from April to 86, 5% in May, Zimbabwe thus has some of the highest yearly inflation rates in the world. Month on month inflation has risen sharply from 2, 4% in April 2023 to 15.7% in May 2023. This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI increased by an average of 15.7 percent from April 2023 to May 2023. The group of products that have contributed most to the rise in the April 2023 index were manufacture of food products, mining and quarrying, manufacture of chemicals and chemical products manufacture of metal products, manufacture of basic metals and manufacture of other non-metallic mineral products. The manufacture of beverages and tobacco, wood and of products of wood and cork, paper and paper products was not significant to the rise in the index.

In the past weeks, the Zimbabwean dollar has fallen, as of 9 May 2023 the RBZ auction rate stood at ZWL$4,868.5152 per US dollar, an increase by 33% from ZWL$3,673.7718 per US dollar from the previous week. As of  9 May, the parallel market rate stood at ZWL$7,500 per US dollar, an increase of 25% from ZWL$6,000 per US dollar. Resultantly the prices of basic commodities and goods have skyrocketed.

The Consumer price index increased from 280.50 points in April to 328.64 points in May 2023. The food poverty line for one person in May 2023 was ZWL$30,109.00 and the total consumption poverty line for one person was ZWL$39,927.00. This means that the minimum needs basket cost that much per person in May 2023 was ZWL$30,109.00. This represents an increase of 19.6 percent in the poverty line over the April 2023 figure of ZWL$25,170.43. World Food Programme reported that more than half of Zimbabwe’s population are currently living under the poverty datum line.