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Ethiopian Inflation Accelerates Following Devaluation

By Will Davison

Ethiopia’s inflation rate increased to 17.7 percent in January as a devaluation of the local currency in September pushed up import costs, the Central Statistical Agency said.

Inflation accelerated from 14.5 percent the month before, the agency said in an e-mailed statement today. Food prices rose 13.6 percent, while non-food items leaped 23.7 percent.

Ethiopian birr

The inflation rate has risen from 5.3 percent in August following a 17.5 percent devaluation of the birr against the dollar on Sept. 1. There are no plans for further major devaluations, National Bank spokesman Alemayehu Kebede said on Jan. 24.

The Ethiopian government introduced price controls on goods including bread, meat, sugar and beer on Jan. 6, citing a lack of competition in the domestic market. More restrictions may be placed on other goods, a Trade Ministry official said on Jan. 11.

World food prices rose to a record in January on higher dairy, sugar and cereal costs, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization said on Feb. 3.

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To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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