Home > Statistic of the Week > Archive List > Detail

<< Prev 10/5/2008 Next >>

Inflating Inflation

Sometimes statistical facts arise that are hard to believe, let alone read or accept. Consider the case of Zimbabwe, which is facing extreme shortages of food, hard currency, gasoline, and most basic goods.

In February, 2008, the inflation rate in Zimbabwe was reported to be more than 100,580 percent, exceeding the previous year's estimate of 66,212 percent. As of September 26, 2008, teh inflation rate is 531,000,000,000 percent!

It is difficult to really understand what these large inflation rates mean, as they reflect an "average" across mutliple basic goods. Also, Iraq holds down second-place in the world of high inflation rates, coming in at a mere 60% in comparison to Zimbabwe.

In the one year, the price of chicken had increased 236,000 percent. That is, in February 2008, the cost of 2.2. pounds of chicken was 15 million Zimbabwe dollars.

Question 1: What was the cost of chicken in Zimbabwe dollars in January 2007? In September of 2008?

Question 2: In January, 2008, 15 million Zimbabwe dollars are equal to about $2.15 American, so what was the exchange value in January 2007? In September 2008?

Source: Bellingham Herald, Feb 22, 2008 and Cato Institute