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Inflation round-up

In our last inflation round-up we reported on Zimbabwe, and how official inflation figures of around 5% at the time seemed to be significantly underestimating reality. Two months on, and the government may be catching up with events, having reported latest annual inflation of 31% to end-November. Leaps of that magnitude tend to keep going, at least for a while, so expect further increases, especially as fuel prices have just been doubled. In an attempt to reduce demand for petrol, which is in desperately short supply, the Harare government hopes that by making them more expensive to run more people will choose to leave cars idle. The move may be more likely to encourage growing street protests than subdue them, but Zimbabwe's leaders appear to have few better ideas.

The other newcomer to our table of countries with inflation above 10% is Malawi. Higher food prices are the main cause, but they are expected to fall in the months ahead.

High-inflation countries (CPI 10%+)
Country CPI % Last reported Trend IMF 2019 forecast
Angola 17.8 Nov-18 ▼ Falling 15.8
Argentina 48.5 Nov-18 ▲ Rising 31.7
Egypt 12.0 Dec-18 ▼ Falling 14.0
Ethiopia 10.4 Dec-18 ▼ Falling 9.5
Haiti 14.3 Oct-18 ► Stable 11.6
Iran 39.9 Nov-18 ▲ Rising 34.1
Liberia 26.6 Oct-18 ▲ Rising 24.5
Malawi 10.1 Nov-18 ▲ Rising 8.4
Nigeria 11.6 Nov-18 ▼ Falling 13.5
Sierra Leone 19.2 Sep-18 ▲ Rising 13.1
South Sudan 41.8 Oct-18 ▼ Falling 91.4
Sudan 68.9 Nov-18 ▲ Rising 49.2
Turkey 20.3 Dec-18 ▼ Falling 16.7
Venezuela 1 700 000.0 Dec-18 ▲ Rising 10 000 000.0
Zimbabwe 31.0 Nov-18 ▲ Rising 9.6

In other inflation news, following Sudan's October currency devaluation, the prices of most goods and services are going up, but few more so than air fares. Flights to and from assignment locations, often for accompanying family members as well as assignees themselves, can amount to a substantial contribution to the overall cost of expatriate assignments for international employers.

The government of Qatar, which had originally planned to introduce 5% VAT in 2018 along with other Gulf states, has postponed the reform again and says it won't now happen until some time beyond 2019.

Finally, here is the watch list:

On watch! (notable rise in inflation, but below 10%)
Country Latest CPI % Data month Up from
Chad 6.0 Dec-18 3.9% Aug-18
Kenya 5.7 Dec-18 4.0% Aug-18
Mongolia 8.1 Nov-18 6.3% Oct-18
Myanmar 8.8 Oct-18 7.6% Jul-18
Pakistan 6.2 Dec-18 5.1% Sep-18
Tajikistan 5.4 Nov-18 2.3% Jul-18
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