ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s annual inflation rate remained stubbornly high at 20 percent in July, data showed on Tuesday, though the pace of increase in food prices slowed marginally.
Surges in global oil prices and poor harvests have driven inflation into double digits in several African countries in the past year.
The International Monetary Fund says that is the biggest challenge facing policymakers in the Horn of Africa country, which has however registered one of the highest economic growth rates in the world for the last few years.
Officials expect gross domestic product growth of 11 percent for 2011/2012, which ended in June, according to government figures, thanks to rising agricultural output, the seventh consecutive fiscal year of growth.
The year-on-year inflation rate eased in July from 20.9 percent in June, Ethiopia’s statistics office said.
Food inflation dropped to 20.7 percent from 21.5 percent and non-food inflation to 19 percent from 19.8 percent.
Month-on-month prices were flat for the third consecutive month.
High coffee earnings in the past few years have boosted the economy of Africa’s biggest coffee producer, as have rising gold, oil seed and livestock exports.
Ethiopia is also the world’s fourth-largest sesame exporter after China, India and Myanmar.