Zambia Inflation Surges as Currency Tumbles

Zambian inflation accelerated for a 13th straight month in April to the highest rate in almost four years as its currency continued to plummet, Bloomberg News reported. Consumer prices rose 15.7% from a year earlier, compared with 14% in March, the Zambia Statistics Agency said Thursday. That’s the highest rate since September 2016. Prices rose 2.2% in the month. The kwacha has weakened 2.5% against the dollar this month, taking its plunge for the year to 24%, the worst-performing currency in Africa. The depreciation was partly driven by investor fears that the southern African nation will default on its debt. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings both flagged that risk when they downgraded their assessments of the country’s debt in April. Inflation has now been above the target band of 6% to 8% for 12 consecutive months and is expected to remain high in the earlier part of the central bank’s two-year forecast period. Read more