Prices of essential goods and services surged again in Zimbabwe this past weekend as the cost of a commuter ride from the suburbs of Harare and Bulawayo into the city centers jumped from Z$3 million (US$0.50) to Z$5 million dollars.

The price of gasoline rose to Z$70 million (US$10) from Z$40 million a liter, reflecting extreme scarcity of the commodity on formal or parallel markets. Until fairly recently, the U.S. dollar cost of a liter of fuel had remained stable at around US$1.00.

Maize meal, a Zimbabwean staple food, was fetching Z$40 million for 10 kilograms, from 15 million previously. Some experts said a report last week from the Central Statistical Office putting inflation at 66,000% might have triggered the surges.

But Harare economist Rejoice Ngwenya told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the rises signaled a failed economy on its knees.

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