Lebanon has highest inflation worldwide: Report

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Lebanon’s annual rate of inflation has risen to the highest of all countries tracked by Bloomberg, surpassing Zimbabwe and Venezuela, as the financial meltdown in the Middle East nation worsens.

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The consumer price index rose 137.8 percent from a year earlier in August, compared with 123.4 percent in July, according to the Lebanon Central Administration of Statistics. Consumer prices rose 10.25 percent from a month earlier while food prices rose 20.82 percent.

Lebanon’s inflation has skyrocketed in the past two years as the country’s financial and economic crisis spirals out of control, with politicians doing very little to mitigate its impact. The currency has lost nearly 90 percent of its value and plunged three quarters of residents into poverty.

Authorities have in recent months started reducing subsidies, as most items are now priced a the black market exchange rate. The central bank is running out of cash and has repeatedly warned the government about continuing subsidies.

After nearly 13 months of paralysis, billionaire and former premier Najib Mikati formed a new government that seeks to resume stalled bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund and creditors to restructure the debt. Lebanon defaulted on $30 billion of Eurobonds last year.

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