The poor struggle in Malawi as inflation soars to 33 percent

Malawi’s annual rate of inflation has increased, according to figures released by the southern African country’s National Statistical Office (NSO) and the country’s poor have been struggling to afford the most basic of essentials.

The inflation figures for November rose  to 33.3 percent, a 2.7 percentage points increase from 30.6 percent the month before.

“Food inflation has gone up by 33.4 percent compared to 3.5 percent during the same period last year. Core inflation [which excludes certain items that face volatile price movements, notably food and energy] has gone up by 33.3 percent compared to 14.2 percent during the same period last year,” said the NSO in its Stats Flash.

The NSO said the urban and rural rates are 38.5 percent and 30.2 percent, respectively.

Budgeting in economic turmoil

The statistical body has attributed inflation rise to the recent price adjustments of fuel, house rentals, electricity and beverages and tobacco.

The May 7 devaluation of the kwacha by 49 percent and its flotation is also being blamed for the rise in inflation.

The kwacha is now on a free-fall trading at K338 to a US dollar in authorised dealers banks (ADBs) from K250 on the day of the devaluation.

Since the announcement of the devaluation, prices of commodities, ranging from food stuffs to bus fares have been increased.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) seems to be grappling with various ways to tame runaway inflation.

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