Russian weekly consumer price growth slowed in mid-Feb Reuters via

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Customers shop at a hypermarket of French grocery retailer Auchan in Moscow, January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Consumer prices in Russia rose at a slower pace over the last week, data from the state statistics service Rosstat showed on Wednesday, easing inflationary concerns flagged by the central bank.

The Bank of Russia gave a hawkish signal earlier this month, warning that further widening of the country’s budget deficit may compel it to raise interest rates from their current level of 7.5%.

Consumer prices rose 0.06% in the week to Feb. 20, Rosstat said, down from an increase of 0.18% in the previous week. Since the start of the year, prices have risen 1.30%, a slower pace than in the same period of 2022, Rosstat said.

Separately, the economy ministry said inflation was running at an annualised rate of 11.36% as of Feb. 20, down from 11.61% a week earlier.

A different set of Rosstat data showed producer prices in Russia continued to fall in January. The producer prices index (PPI) – a measure of costs in the manufacturing sector – fell 4.6% in January on a monthly basis.

The decline was led by falling prices for some fuels and chemicals, Rosstat said.

On an annual basis, PPI was down 0.9% in January, Rosstat said, moving further away from the double-digit price rises Russia’s manufacturing sector saw for much of 2021 and the first months of 2022.

Russian households regularly cite inflation as their main concern, with many having no savings, after a decade of economic crises and rising prices dragged living standards down across the country.

Russia’s annual inflation rate in 2022 was 11.9%, almost three times the government’s official 4% target. The central bank forecasts inflation will be 5-7% this year, falling to 4% in 2024.

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