Zimbabwe’s inflation had rocketed to 269 percent by April 2003 but United States embassy officials were happy that Information Minister Jonathan Moyo had not yet started doctoring the numbers.
Reports at the time said the “opposition press” reported that Moyo had instructed business and economics reporters from the State media to make reports more upbeat.
Viewing cable 03HARARE983, Inflation hits 269 percent
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
210800Z May 03
UNCLAS HARARE 000983
STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND
PASS USTR ROSA WHITAKER
TREASURY FOR ED BARBER AND CWILKENSON
USAID FOR MAJORIE COPSON
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Inflation hits 269 percent
¶1. (U) Summary: Zimbabwe’s official inflation has reached
269 percent, adding to the country’s economic woes. End
¶2. (U) This is the year-on-year rate for April 2003, as
measured by the Central Statistical Office (CSO)’s Consumer
Price Index. The March-to-March rate was 228 percent. The
increase does not yet take into account recent price hikes
in soft drinks, postage rates, train fares and telephone
charges. CSO methodology also precludes factoring in black-
market rates for fuel, although transport costs are
otherwise reflected in many product increases.
¶3. (U) This is very troubling, but expected, news. As we
have noted, the GOZ’s much-ballyhooed goal of double-digit
inflation for 2003 is no longer feasible. Locals joke they
can almost watch prices climb if they stand in front an item
on the supermarket shelf for five minutes.
¶4. (SBU) However, economists are gratified that GOZ
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has not yet compelled CSO
statisticians to doctor their numbers. The opposition press
reported last week that Moyo instructed business/economics
reporters from the State media to make reports more upbeat.
While the CSO’s CPI methodology is badly outdated, it is
still a professional undertaking.