1. Zimbabwe: 355,000%!
The inflation in Zimbabwe for the month of March 2008 rose to 355,000%! Yes, 355,000 per cent! It more than doubled from the February figure of 165,000%.
Economists say that it is a miracle that the Zimbabwean economy is still surviving and prices have been rising to unprecedented proportions. Inflation surged between February and March following the sudden rise in money supply that flooded the economy to finance the 2008 elections. Apart from this food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to drive up inflation.
Almost 80% of the nation is unemployed. The Zimbabwean central bank has introduced $500 million bearer cheques (or currency notes) for the public, and $5 billion, $25 billion, $50 billion agro-cheques for farmers. Just last fortnight the nation had introduced $250 million bearer cheques.
A sausage sandwich sells for Zimbabwean $50 million. A 15-kg bag of potatoes cost Zimbabwean $260 million. But then, Zimbabwean $50 million is roughly equal to US$ 1!
Image: A Zimbabwean man holds up a new $500-million note on May 16, 2008 in Harare. | Photograph: Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images
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