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The 15 Countries With The Highest Inflation Rates

15.  India

  • Actual Inflation Rate: 8.8% (Feb. 2011)
  • Population: 1,189,172,906
  • GDP: $1.43 trillion
  • GDP Per Capita: $3,400
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 25%

The second-most populous country has a gargantuan problem with inflation, so much so that the central bank has raised key interest rates nine times since November 2010.  Its 8.8% rate is the highest among developed countries.  Like every country,  India has been stung by high oil prices.  Recently, the Federal Reserve Bank of India predicted that the economy would grow 8 percent in 2011-2012, down from the government’s earlier estimate of 9%.

14. Ghana

  • Annual Inflation Rate:  9.13% (March 2011)
  • Population: 24,791,073
  • GDP:$38.24 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1,600
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 28.5%

Ghana, with its abundant natural resources including offshore oil deposits,  has an economy ready to overheat.  Earlier this year, the World Bank predicted the country would have the fastest-growing economy in Sub Saharan Africa as prices for gold and cocoa climbed, gaining an astonishing 13.4 percent in 2011.   The economy will cool to only 10 percent in 2012.

13.  Kenya

  • Annual Inflation Rate:9.19% (March 2011)
  • Population: 41,070,934
  • GDP: $65.95 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1,600
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line:  50%

How fast is Kenya growing?  Well, the local media is reporting that demand for electricity skyrocketed by 20% in March, prompting worries about power shortages.    The country’s tax revenues surged 16% in the first 3 quarters of the 2010-2011 fiscal year.   Experts, though, are not sure if this growth, which has been fueled by the telecommunications sector, will last.

12. Russia

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 9.50% (March 2011)
  • Population: 138,739,892
  • GDP: $2.229 trillion
  • GDP Per Capita: $15,900
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line:  13.1%

Russia’s fortunes have been helped by the rise for prices for commodities such as oil.  Between 1999 and 2008, Russia’s average growth rate averaged almost 7 percent.   As Bloomberg News noted, ” President Dmitry Medvedev said in February that Russia should seek growth of as much as 10 percent a year within five years to keep up with the pace of rival so-called BRIC developing economies. ”   That hasn’t happened yet.  Government officials are predicting GDP growth of 4.2% this year, up from 4% in 2010.   Corruption remains a problem.

11.  Argentina

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 10% (March 2011)
  • Population: 41,769,726
  • GDP: $596 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $14,700
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 30%

Latin America’s third-largest economy grew at torrid 9.2% last year, driven by strong demand for its manufactured goods from neighboring Brazil, high prices for its grain exports and growing consumer spending.   Dark clouds, though, loom over Argentina, as Reuters notes:

Critics say the widely discredited INDEC national statistics agency has been under-reporting inflation since 2007, when the government replaced the head of its consumer price unit with a political ally and ousted long-standing technical staff.

Economists say double-digit inflation is becoming entrenched, leaving a thorny legacy for the next government, and raising doubts about the long-term viability of current policies.

10. Bolivia

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 10% (Feb. 2011)
  • Population:10,118,683
  • GDP:  $47.98 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $4,800
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 30%

Bolivia is one of Latin America’s poorest and least developed countries.   That may not change after the recent announcement of a huge natural gas discovery.  “President Evo  overturned mining, banking and investment laws in a bid to increase state control over the Andean country’s economy,” according to Bloomberg News.

9. Paraguay

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 10.3%
  • Population: 6,459,058
  • GDP: $33.27 billion
  • GPD Per Capita:  $4,900
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 18.8%

Growth in the Paraguay’s economy exploded between 2003 and 2008 thanks to soaring demand for its commodities such as soy.   After dropping off as the worldwide recession hit, growth resumed at a blistering 14.5% rate last year, the highest in Latin America.   Officials expect inflation to slow this year because of the booming economy.  Corruption remains a problem.

8. Bangladesh

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 10.49%
  • Population: 158,570,535
  • GDP: $259.3 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $1,700
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 40%

Given its mind-numbing levels of poverty and political instability, it’s remarkable that Bangladesh has grown at 5-6% since 1996.   Inflation, though, has become a serious problem, jumping to a three-year high in March.   Food inflation, fueled by soaring prices of rice which are a staple in country’s diet, was a whopping 13.87% in March, versus 12..77% in February.

7. Egypt

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 12.20% (March 2011)
  • Population: 82,079,636
  • GDP: $500.9 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $6,200
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 20%

Though the Egyptian economy grew at a rapid pace for years,  very few of those benefits helped make the lives of ordinary people better.  Add to it the corruption under the rule of former strongman Hosni Mubarak and food price inflation and there is a recipe  political chaos.  The Institute of International Finance recently predicted that Egypt’s economy would hit a recession in 2011.