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5. Greece, Oct. 1944

Highest monthly inflation: 13,800%
Prices doubled every 4.3 days

In the fifth worst inflation situation of all time, Greece in 1944 saw prices double every 4.3 days. Hyperinflation in Greece technically began in October 1943, during the German occupation of the country in WWII. However, the most rapid inflation occurred when the Greek government in exile regained control of Athens in October 1944; prices rose by 13,800 percent that month and another 1,600 percent in November, according to a study by Gail Makinen.

In 1938, the Greeks held a drachma note for an average of 40 days before spending it, but by November 10th 1944, the average holding time shrunk to 4 hours. In 1942, the highest denomination of currency was 50,000 drachma, but by 1944 the highest denomination was a 100 trillion drachmai note. On Nov 11th, the government issued a redenomination of the currency, which converted old drachmai to new at a rate of 50 billion to one, although the populace continued using British Military Pounds as the de facto currency until mid-1945.

The stabilization efforts were relatively successful, with prices rising only 140 percent from January through May, and even seeing 36.8 percent deflation in June 1945 when prominent economist Kyriakos Varvaressos was brought in as economic czar. However, his plan of increasing foreign assistance, reviving domestic production and imposing controls on wages and prices through a redistribution of wealth worsened the country's budget deficit and Varvaressos resigned on September 1.

After the civil war of Jan-Dec. 1945/46, the British offered a plan to stabilize the country, which included increasing revenues through the sale of aid goods, an adjustment of specific tax rates, improved tax collection methods and the creation of the Currency Committee (composed of three Greek Cabinet Ministers, one Briton and one American) for fiscal responsibility. By the beginning of 1947, prices had stabilized, public confidence was restored and national income rose, bringing Greece out of the vortex of hyperinflation.

Photo: ioffer.com