According to this article, the Zimbabwe state statistical agency is no longer calculating the CPI, as there are too many empty shelves, and not enough goods left to include in the calculation.
Following from my earlier discussions of Zimbabwe's inflation (the latest being here), I think this new development highlights a potential bias in the CPI that I haven't seen discussed elsewhere. What is the price of a good that is no longer available at any price? The only answer to this question is that it is undefined, or infinite. If even one component of the CPI is no longer available at any price, then regardless of how trivial that component is within the CPI, Zimbabwe inflation now equals infinity!
(This is part of the reason why price controls are such a bad idea: they lower the prices for some consumers but inevitably create shortages, and therefore infinite prices, for others).
But life is not actually quite as bad as infinite inflation would imply. Recall that we often use the CPI as a measure of the "cost of living." To an economist, the cost of living is the lowest cost of attaining a given standard of living, or utility. The CPI is an imperfect measure of this because it ignores substitution effects (consumers substitute away from relatively expensive goods towards cheaper ones), new goods (the weights are only updated occasionally, so ignores the rapid price declines usually associated with new goods), and improvements in quality over time. These three biases tend to result in the CPI overstating rises in the true cost of living.
If we ignore goods that are no longer available at any price due to a collapsing, corrupt, crime-ridden economy, then that introduces a bias that works the other way. It will not in fact result in infinite inflation (since a rational consumer would substitute away from the unavailable goods to those that are still available), but in the case of Zimbabwe is likely to result in measured inflation significantly understating the true rise in the cost of living. True infinite inflation can only arise when there is nothing left available for sale at any price.
So the poor people of Zimbabwe who have been arguing that the prices they pay are rising faster than official CPI figures indicate have a point.
And what is the source of this hyper-inflation? The money supply is growing at 18000% per year! as Friedman said, "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomena."