Inflation soars to 7,634.8%

ZIMBABWE'S inflation rate has leapt to a record high of 7,634.8 per cent, according to official data, increasing the pressure on Robert Mugabe, the president, to tackle the country's economic crisis.

Inflation - which was already the highest in the world - hit the new high in July, giving Zimbabweans no relief from daily hardships, such as chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Although the government says the inflation figure is correct, many analysts and critics say it is likely to be much higher - the International Monetary Fund warned last month that it may reach 100,000 per cent.

Mr Mugabe claims some businesses have raised prices without justification as part of a western plot to oust him.