The figures came to light in the latest report by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) which consistently publishes reports on the cost of living in the country.
CCZ in measuring the cost of living looks at an average family of six. They look at the low income urban earner. The cost of a monthly food basket for a family of six increased by 0.52% in August. The food basket cost $576.84 at the end of July and had increased to $579.84 by end of August.
CCZ is attributing the increase to fluctuation in fuel prices and the use of plastic money. These factors not being the only ones but the biggest contributors.
When swiping for groceries instead of paying cash, people tend not to notice small increases in prices but seeing as most families are earning less than the $579.84, it has been noticed. However CCZ noted,
Some supermarkets have taken advantage of the shortage of cash to increase prices of basic commodities by amounts ranging from one cent to 40 cents which at times consumers do not notice.
I’m sure if you love eggs you have seen signs put up in some supermarkets that limit every customer to just 6 eggs for example. CCZ says this is because of the Avian flu that hit poultry market in this country. This coupled with the ban on poultry imports from South Africa led to the shortage of eggs in the market and the price increase in poultry meat. CCZ assumes the increase in prices for beef products can be attributed to a similar reason to this.
Given time we can all come up with various other reasons why there was this increase in cost of living. Some of us would even argue that the 0.52% is conservative but that the increase should be closer to 2%, or more. What effect has the parallel market usd-bond rate had on average prices? What about the foreign currency situation in this country?
Whatever the reasons, it cannot be argued that there is steady increase in cost of living. This trend will probably continue for at least a few more months.