Zambian Inflation Accelerates to 7.3% in December

Zambia’s inflation rate rose to 7.3 percent in December, boosted by rising food costs and a weaker currency.

Inflation accelerated from 6.9 percent in November, Peter Mukaka, acting director of the Central Statistics Office, told reporters today in the capital, Lusaka.

Zambia’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 9.25 percent in October to curb inflation in Africa’s biggest copper producer. The Bank of Zambia is scheduled to make its next rate decision tomorrow.

The government has been selling corn at a discount to local millers in a program dubbed “operation flood the market,” to try to curb rising prices for the staple food in the southern African nation. Corn-meal prices that rose as much as 50 percent over the last two months in parts of the country are “unacceptable,” President Michael Sata said in a Dec. 21 statement.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda is “worried” about Zambia’s inflation rate, he said in a Dec. 20 interview in Lusaka. Inflation could end the year at 7.2 percent, Bank of Zambia governor Michael Gondwe said in a Dec. 13 interview.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Hill in Lusaka at mhill58@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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