Cost of Living Shoots Up In Zimbabwe

In an interview, a senior Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) official said: “The cost of living has gone up to US$499.96 for a family of five. The food basket has gone up to US$144.19 from US$142.77 in December, 2010. The items that went up include tea leaves, bread, fresh milk, and fuel.”

He said there could be other huge increases later this year as Zimbabwe grapples with more problems.

Fuel went up by an average of eight cents last week leading to various other increases including transport costs for people coming to work for 2011.

This, he said, thus made a mockery of the so-called low inflation now conservatively pegged at about 5 percent in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile the lacklustre Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), once voted the best performing bourse in Southern Africa, has begun 2011 in a rather low mode judging from trading that occurred on Monday, January 3, the first day after the festive holiday.

Analysts said the ZSE would run huge losses for the year judging by the way trading went on during the first day on January 3, 2011.

“We expect the ZSE to perform poorly in 2011,” a senior stock market analyst said in an interview. “This, however, is despite the fact that we have dollarised in Zimbabwe and thus the money is very real. It is different from the days of the worthless Zimbabwe dollar when the bourse beat all sorts of record but the money was worthless then. This is real cash you are talking about here.”

High performers on the first day of trading were Colcom Holdings Limited, Delta Corporation Limited, Seed Co Limited, Hwange Colliery Company Limited and Econet Wireless Holdings Limited.

The major fallers included Pelhams Limited, Apex Corporation Limited, CBZ Holdings Limited, African Sun Limited and OK Zimbabwe Limited.

On the first day of trading counters that went down included African Sun Limited, Apex Corporation Limited, CBZ Holdings Limited and Lafarge Limited.

Those that remained the same from the last day of trading in 2010 were Art Corporation Limited, Astra Holdings Limited, CFI Holdings Limited, and Dairibord Holdings Zimbabwe Limited.

Zimbabwean punters are, however, still very happy because of the dollarisation which has allowed some of them to become real millionaires at a time when most people are cash-strapped and the world economy is snoozing.

Other major African stock markets include South Africa, Morroco, Botswana and Kenya.