* Year-on-year inflation in December at lowest for 2012
* African country plagued by high inflation in past four
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA, Jan 9 Ethiopian inflation dropped
in December to 12.9 percent year-on-year, its lowest rate of
2012, official data showed on Wednesday.
The government had targeted single-digit inflation in 2012,
something it now hopes to achieve this year.
Inflation, which has been billed by the IMF as the country's
biggest economic challenge, peaked at 36.3 percent last
February, and has steadily declined due to rising agricultural
output and government subsidies on a number of food items.
Last month's year-on-year inflation fell to
12.9 percent from 15.6 percent in November, according to the
Central Statistics Agency.
It said the consumer price index actually fell 0.7 percent
month-on-month in December after a 0.5 percent drop in November.
The agency said food price inflation fell to 11.8 percent
year-on-year in December, down from 13.4 percent in November.
The non-food inflation rate also dropped to 14.6 percent in
December from 19.4 percent the previous month.
The International Monetary Fund has said inflation is the
biggest challenge facing policymakers in the Horn of Africa
country, which has however registered one of the world's highest
economic growth rates for the last few years.
Ethiopia's economy is expected to maintain a growth rate of
11 percent in 2012/2013, the seventh consecutive fiscal year of
growth, according to senior officials.
High coffee earnings in the past few years have boosted the
economy of Africa's biggest coffee producer, as have rising
gold, oil seed and livestock exports.