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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian inflation accelerated to 12.1 percent year-on-year in June from 10.9 percent in May, largely due to rising food prices, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) said on Thursday.

“The increase in the inflation rate from 10.9 percent in May 2008 to 12.1 percent in June 2008 is attributed to the increase in the cost of food,” it said.

“The rise in the price of sugar alone accounted for 1.0 percentage point out of the total increase of 1.2 percentage points.”

The June figure takes inflation further away from the government’s target of 7 percent by the end of 2008, which the country’s finance minister warned earlier this month may not be achieved due to high international food and fuel costs.

Zambia, which has vast copper reserves, has agreed to try keep inflation within single digits and maintain a stable exchange rate in return for increased funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Annual GDP growth has averaged 5 percent over the past five years.

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