March 22, 2017 / 6:32 AM / 3 years ago

Burundi's inflation jumps to 20.7 percent in February y/y

People sell bananas in an open market in a village near Bujumbura, June 1, 2015. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Burundi’s year-on-year inflation rate climbed to 20.7 percent in February from 12.9 percent in January, driven by rising food prices in local markets, official data showed.

Food inflation accelerated to 34.4 percent in the year to February from 20.1 percent in January, the Institute of Economic Studies and Statistics (ISTEEBU) said on Tuesday.

Prices rose due to weak food production caused by flooding and drought, which hit the coffee producing nation in the first half and the fourth quarter of 2016, the statistics board said.

The United Nation’s humanitarian agencies estimate that 3 million Burundians are in need of urgent food assistance out of a population of over 11 million.

The poor harvests have worsened the country’s fragile economy, already weakened by almost two years of political impasse that resulted in aid cuts from donors, economic analysts said.

The government expects the economy to grow by 2.9 percent in 2017 after shrinking by 0.5 percent the previous year.

Editing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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