Ethiopia inflation soars to 7.1 pct y/y in Dec

Jan 22, 2010, ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s year-on-year inflation rose to 7.1 percent in December from 0.6 percent in November on the back of rising fuel, food and construction material prices, the statistics office said on Friday.

Inflation in the vast Horn of Africa nation hit a high of 64.2 percent in July 2008. It then entered a period of deflation from July to October last year.

“In the recent months, except for cereals and oil seeds and fats, all the other food components show a rise in their indices,” the Central Statistical Agency said in a statement.
“Among the non-food components, the prices of fuel, construction materials, clothing and footwear, furniture and furnishing and personal care and effects are increasing.”

After the July 2008 peak, the government halted state borrowing and increased bank reserves to drive down the rate.

Ethiopia’s central bank had also instructed private banks to restrict borrowing as part of the attempts to curb inflation.

The global recession has slashed international demand for Ethiopia’s agricultural exports and power cuts have ravaged business, fuelling a foreign currency shortage.

The government says it expects growth of about 10 percent in 2010. Opposition parties contest the government’s statistics.

Ethiopia, one of Africa’s biggest potential markets with some 80 million people, is drawing growing foreign investor interest in agriculture, hydropower and oil and gas exploration.

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