A thinly veiled excuse to use the word “sextillion”

Yep, we’re back on Zimbabwe again.

Last week, Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation rate was a cheery 593 quintillion percent p.a. This week, it’s 89.7 sextillion percent (897 followed by twenty zeroes and the overthrow of the government) – a doubling of prices about every five-and-a-quarter days over the last year.

The rate is accelerating, though – if you look at the weekly data for the last two weeks, prices have doubled about every 22 hours. (Side note: you’d think that a doubling every 24 hours would be a nice round level for inflation to plateau at, and you’d be pretty much right – it’s stalled there for nearly a month now.)

That’s still nowhere near the record, though; that would belong to the once-every-14-hours doublings of postwar Hungary (the blue line on the chart). It’s impossible to stick a neat trendline through all of those points, but it does look like it’s on track to break Hungary’s record sometime before year end. Guesses on the precise date in the comments below; nearest the pin wins.

This entry was posted in Money. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A thinly veiled excuse to use the word “sextillion”

  1. dWj says:

    If I just look at this year’s data, the log of the price level fits a hyperbola pretty well. (Better than it fits much of anything else.) I get an R^2 better than .98 when I fit time to 1/log(P), .99 if I just look at the last 8 points; in either case, it asymptotes to infinity on December 27. (Both fits give the same date, interestingly enough.)

  2. dWj says:

    Incidentally, the regressions also suggest it should pass Hungary around December 11, though if you’re looking at weekly data the weekly change wouldn’t exceed it until the week ending December 19. So put me down for that.
    It also suggests that, come January, you will have to offer a basket of consumer goods to get people to take Zimbabwe currency off your hands.

Comments are closed.