Yesterday ZIMSTAT, the government agency tasked with sourcing and calculating essential statistical figures for Zimbabwe, announced the latest month on month inflation figures. For September the inflation rate stood at 17.72% which means that on average prices rose up by 17.72% compared to their August prices.

This means that the inflation rate decreased by about 0.35% compared to the month on month inflation in August. Again it doesn’t mean prices went down in September compared to August, we all know better, it simply means that according to ZIMSTAT, the rate at which prices are going up is slowing down.

It feels like the inflation rate should be higher though doesn’t it?

I mean given the rate at which prices are going up it feels wrong to say the inflation rate is going down. We also know that we are now firmly in the hyperinflationary territory.

The thing is that this is average inflation. It is subject to the effect of outliers. To demonstrate this food inflation was 19.55%, 1% up from August. This means that prices of food-related items and drinks actually went up by a higher percentage in September than in August.

I am sure if you start to tear the numbers apart like this you will notice only a few non-essential items went up at a slower pace than the most sought after basic items. We know for example that in one week the basket of items we track went up by more than 200% in September.