When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 May 2006

Runaway inflation in Zimbabwe

How bad is inflation in Zimbabwe? Well, consider this: at a supermarket near the center of this tatterdemalion capital, toilet paper costs $417.

No, not per roll. Four hundred seventeen Zimbabwean dollars is the value of a single two-ply sheet. A roll costs $145,750 — in American currency, about 69 cents.

The price of toilet paper, like everything else here, soars almost daily, spawning jokes about an impending better use for Zimbabwe's $500 bill, now the smallest in circulation.

But what is happening is no laughing matter. For untold numbers of Zimbabweans, toilet paper — and bread, margarine, meat, even the once ubiquitous morning cup of tea — have become unimaginable luxuries. All are casualties of the hyperinflation that is roaring toward 1,000 percent a year, a rate usually seen only in war zones.


Zimbabwe fell into hyperinflation after the government began seizing commercial farms in about 2000. Foreign investors fled, manufacturing ground to a halt, goods and foreign currency needed to buy imports fell into short supply and prices shot up.
Zimbabwe's Prices Rise 900%, Turning Staples Into Luxuries - New York Times

No comments: