12 Jan 2010 12:37

Russia had 8.8% inflation in 2009

MOSCOW. Jan 12 (Interfax) - Russia had 8.8% inflation in 2009, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said.

Rosstat confirmed its previous estimate of 8.8% for the year.

Consumer prices rose 0.4% in December.

This is post-Soviet Russia's lowest yearly inflation on record. The previous low was 9.0% in 2006. Inflation was 13.3% in 2008, including 0.7% in December that year.

Inflation for December 2009 was below the 0.6% that analysts predicted in a consensus forecast for Interfax at the end of that month. The analysts also said they thought inflation for 2009 as a whole would be 9.0%.

Inflation usually accelerates in the month of December due to growth in government spending and seasonal growth in fruit and vegetable prices. The actual December 2009 inflation was the lowest for that month since 1991.

Inflation was 7.4% in the first half of 2009. There was so little price growth in the second half of the year because real incomes stagnated, consumer demand slackened and the ruble strengthened in that period.

The core or underlying inflationary index, which excludes short-term irregular price changes caused by various factors of an administrative, once-off and seasonal nature, primarily changes in prices for foodstuffs and energy, was 100.4% in December 2009 and 108.3% in the whole of 2009, compared with 113.6% in the whole of 2008.

December 2009 saw food prices rise 0.6% (6.1% in the whole of 2009 and 16.5% in 2008). Nonfood prices grew 0.2% in December 2009 (9.7% in the whole of 2009, 8.0% in 2008). Service charges went up 0.5% (11.5% and 15.9%, respectively).

Inflation in the City of Moscow was 0.5% in December and 109.5% in the whole of 2009. It was 0.5% in the City of St Petersburg also (108.5%).

The biggest price increases last year were 42.7% for granulated sugar, 19.6% for housing and utility services, 18.7% for tobacco and 17.6% for medicines.

Housing and utility charges went up 0.2% in December 2009, as in November. These charges went up 16.4% in 2008, when overall inflation was 13.3%, and 14.0% in 2007, when inflation was 11.9%. The biggest increases last year were 24.9% for electricity (13.7% in 2008), 24.3% for hot water (18.6%), 24.2% for waste removal (18.0%) and 24.1% for gas (22.9% in 2008).

Russian gasoline prices grew 8.0% in 2009. They fell 2.0% in December 2009, after falling 0.1% in November. Gasoline went up 1.2% in 2008, after rising 8.5% in 2007.

The consumer basket of staple foods averaged up 1.1% in December to 2,131 rubles per person per month. The basket rose just 0.7% in the course of 2009, compared with growth of 17.5% in 2008 and 22.3% in 2007.

The basket was most expensive in Chukotka (6,612 rubles), Magadan region (3,832 rubles), Kamchatka (3,739 rubles), Sakhalin (3,632 rubles) and Yakutia (3,532 rubles). It was least expensive in Tatarstan (1,736 rubles), the Ulyanovsk region (1,747 rubles) and Tambov region (1,765 rubles).

The basket went up 0.9% in the City of Moscow in December to 2,401 rubles (2.6% in 2009 as a whole) and 0.2% in the City of St Petersburg to 2,299 rubles (fell 0.5% in the year).

In Russia as a whole, bread and baked products were unchanged in price in December (rose 2.4% in 2009). Groats and legumes fell 1.6% (fell 2.5% in the year) and pasta products fell 0.6% (rose 1.6%). Meat and poultry fell 0.3% in December (rose 5.0% in the year) and fish and seafood fell 0.5% (rose 10.6%).

Milk and dairy products rose 1.3% in December (rose 2.3% in 2009), butter went up 3.5% (rose 7.9%), sunflower oil fell 0.5% (fell 19.8%) and fruit and vegetables rose 3.0% (fell 1.7%).

Granulated sugar rose 0.4% in December (42.7% in the year).

Analysts reckon Russia will have 8.4% inflation in 2010, which is above the government's official forecast of 6.5%-6.7%.