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    Central Bank says inflation nearing 25 percent now

    The Central Bank said the annual inflation rate as of the end of the last Persian month on October 21 was 24.9 percent, up dramatically from 24.0 percent the previous month.

    The announcement confirmed the obvious—that the collapse of the rial this year is driving up prices for all imported goods and all goods that contain imported components. That includes almost everything since even farm animals raised in Iran are usually fed a lot of imported fodder.

    More than a year ago, the Central Bank ceased issuing its six-page monthly report on inflation. That means the public cannot see the measures of where inflation is rising most speedily and what is driving the problem.

    Those Central Bank reports also issued the inflation calculation measured two different ways. The state news agency report on the inflation announcement did not say whether the Central Bank identified which measurement method it was announcing. However, officials usually prefer to quote the lower of the two figures.

    Most economists believe that whichever measurement is used, it understates the true level of inflation in the country. Economists generally believe the actual inflation rate is double—some say triple—the published rate.

    The CIA publishes the announced rates of inflation, without judging their accuracy, in its “World Factbook,” an unclassified document available over the Internet.

    That lists Iran with the sixth worst inflation rate, using older figures, mostly from 2011. Using the latest Central Bank number, Iran would have the fourth worst inflation rate among the 223 jurisdictions in the CIA tabulation.

    But regardless of whether Iran is fourth or sixth from the bottom, it is in a rarefied category as only 16 countries show an inflation rate of 15 percent or higher and only 16 others show a rate between 10.0 percent and 14.9 percent.

    Iran has rarely been below 10 percent in any year since the revolution and is thus among the worst inflation sufferers in the world even when its inflation is in the low teens.

    Here are the six countries in the CIA list showing inflation of 20 percent or higher:

    • Iran 20.6%
    • Guinea 21.4%
    • Argentina 22.0%
    • Venezuela 26.1%
    • Ethiopia 33.0%
    • Belarus 53.3%

    The Argentine figure is from 2010, the others from 2011.

    The country with the lowest inflation figure in the CIA list is Belize, which had deflation of 2.5 percent last year. The United States and European Union were tied at 65th place with 3.1 percent inflation last year. Canada was 57th with 2.9 percent inflation.

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