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The 15 Countries With The Highest Inflation Rates

6. Nigeria

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 12.80 (March 2011)
  • Population: 155,215,573
  • GDP: $369.8 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $2,400
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 70%

Most Nigerians don’t reap the benefits of the country’s massive oil wealth as an astounding 70% live in poverty.    Rising food prices are only adding to the country’s inflation woes as did a massive government spending program ahead of the recent presidential election.  Meanwhile, The Central Bank
of Nigeria has risen its benchmark interest rates twice this year to slow inflation’s progress.

5.  Pakistan

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 13.16% (March 2011)
  • Population: 187,342,721
  • GDP: $451.2 billion
  • GDP Per Capita: $2,400
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 24%

Were it not for the $11 billion in aid it has received from the U.S. since 9-11, the Pakistani economy would be in far worse shape.   Poverty and corruption remain serious problems.   The government recently raised fuel prices by 12% reflecting to rise in oil global markets. “The coalition led by President Asif Ali Zardari had halved the increase in petroleum prices in March to mollify a key partner which quit the government in protest over the fuel price hike in January,” Reuters says.

4. Vietnam

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 13.89 (March 2011)
  • Population: 90,549,390
  • GDP: $278.1 billion
  • GDP per capita: $3,100
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 10.6%

Vietnam is fighting inflation head-on by raising interest rates in May for the second time in a month.    Some experts are advising a cautious approach. “If they are willing to endure the political pressure — the pressure from business and consumers, who are inconvenienced by higher interest rates — for a long enough period of time, then inflation will abate,” Jonathan Pincus, a Ho Chi Minh City-based economist with the Vietnam Program at the Harvard Kennedy School , told Bloomberg News.

3. Angola

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 14.76% (March. 2011)
  • Population: 13,338,541
  • GDP: $114.1 billion
  • GDP per capita: $8,700
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 40%

Angola is yet another case where oil wealth has not filtered down to most of the population.  Unemployment is a staggering 20%. Most of Angola’a  GDP — some 85% — is tied to the petroleum industry.  The country is also known for its diamonds.  Angola’s economy grew by double-digits for several years after its civil war ended in 2002.   Inflation, which was 14.76% at the end of the first quarter, has been heading down since November 2010.  Corruption remains an issue.

2. Mozambique

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 15.23% (Feb. 2011)
  • Population: 22,948,858
  • GDP: $22.19 billion
  • GDP per capita: $1,000
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 70%

Concern over inflation turned deadly last year in Mozambique’s capital Maputo when six people were killed in riots over rising food and fuel prices.  Exerts are expecting inflation to ease this year as the country’s economy rebounds.  Government officials are not taking any chances, however, ]and “recently raised interest rates and implemented some direct price control measures, including lowering import tariffs and fixing the prices of certain foodstuffs,” according to Fin24.com.

1. Venezuela

  • Annual Inflation Rate: 22.9% (March 2011)
  • Population: 27,635,743
  • GDP: $344.2 billion
  • GDP Per Capita:$12,600
  • Percentage of Population Below The Poverty Line: 37.9%

Leave it to Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez to blame currency speculators and private companies for his country’s sky-high inflation.  Chavez has some explaining to do aahed of next year’s presidential elections. Reuters reports that there are shortages of milk and electricity blackouts.   Venezuela remains heavily dependent on oil.  Chavez scared away foreign companies in 2006 when he nationalized the  country’s oil fields.  GDP rose a surprisingly tepid 3% to 4% in the first three months of 2011. It contracted last year.  Minister of Planning and Finances Jorge Giordan is quoted by the website venezuelanalysis.com as saying that Venezuela expects inflation of between 23% and 25%. “We were prudent regarding the budget, expending resources and in estimations of inflation and growth,” he said.

Jonathan Berr