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Jonathan Moyo not yet doctoring inflation figures

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.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE983, Inflation hits 269 percent

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE983

2003-05-21 08:00

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

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

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

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

TAGS: EFIN ECON ETRD ZI

SUBJECT: Inflation hits 269 percent

 

 

1. (U) Summary: Zimbabwe’s official inflation has reached

269 percent, adding to the country’s economic woes. End

Summary.

 

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.

 

Comment

——-

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While the CSO’s CPI methodology is badly outdated, it is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.

 

Whitehead

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