Thursday, November 18, 2010

From John Robertson

Zimbabwe’s October's inflation figures show a month-on-month increase of 0,22%, which carried the index number up to 95,27. As this figure was 91,96 in October last year, the year-on-year inflation rate works out at 3,6%.

Prospects for change in the coming year seem likely to be driven mostly by wage demands and by movements of the rand against the US dollar. On the local increases in labour costs, the faster rate of increase in affected consumer goods prices might not impact on the prices people pay if they can choose a more competitively priced imported product. Local producers seeking to recover higher labour costs are therefore more likely to price themselves out of the market than to add to inflation. However, the loss of jobs for those companies that fail will cause a shrinkage in local buying power as well as in the taxes paid to government and the local authorities.

The rand exchange rate appears to be settling into a pattern of minor adjustments between R6,8 and R7,10 to the US dollar. The news a week ago that the US is to print another $600 billion to ease the liquidity has cast the US dollar’s recovery prospects into a deeper shadow, so perhaps a weakening rand is still some way off. Meanwhile, Zimbabweans will be spending mainly weaker US dollars to pay for goods priced in strengthening rand, so our import procurement costs are more likely to go up — unless we can source the goods from local suppliers. Zimbabwean factories should be trying to recapture the loyalty of local retailers now, while the rand is strong, and industrial workers will be more likely to keep their jobs if they can restrain their wage demands and improve on their levels of productivity.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mineral output - from John Robertson

Zimbabwe's mineral production volume and value figures through to August have now been released. The attached table shows the figures recorded by the Chamber of Mines and these illustrate the extent of the improvements seen in gold and coal output. However, progress has been hesitant for many of the minerals and figures for some of them, such as limestone and black granite, have not been recorded as efficiently as they were in the past, even though the minerals are still being produced.

Monday, November 1, 2010

From John Robertson

The Central Statistical Office has updated its Poverty Datum Line table to August 2010. This shows the dollar amount needed by an individual and by an average family of five people to meet the cost of basic essential food items for a month and the amount needed by them to meet the total consumption needs, also for a month.

The CSO defines the PDL as the cost of a given standard of living that must be attained if a person or family is to be deemed not to be poor. Accordingly, in August 2010, if an individual were receiving an income below US$146 a month, or if a family of five were receiving a sum below US$477, and if they were entitled to no benefits, allowances or subsidies, they would be deemed to be poor.