4 Dec 2009 16:31

Russia had 0.3% inflation in Nov, 9.1% in annual terms

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) - Russia had 0.3% inflation in November after three months of zero price growth, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said.

Inflation slowed to 9.1% in annual terms (compared with November last year), from 9.7% in October.

These figures coincide with Rosstat's preliminary estimate for November, based on weekly price monitoring.

November inflation was lower than the 0.4% that analysts predicted in a consensus forecast for Interfax.

It was also the lowest November inflation since 1991. The previous lows were 0.6% in November 1997 and November 1996.

Inflation was 8.4% in January-November 2009. It was 12.5% in the same period of last year, including 0.8% in November 2008.

Inflation usually accelerates towards the end of a year as the seasonal effect of lower fruit and vegetable prices wears off and budget spending increases.

The Russian Economic Development Ministry has said inflation has been low in the second half of 2009 due to a drop in consumer demand as incomes have fallen; and to a significantly stronger ruble due to higher prices for oil and some other Russian export commodities.

Foodstuffs rose 0.3% in price in Russia in November 2009, compared with growth of 1.3% in November last year. Food went up 0.2% minus fruit and vegetables (1.3%). Nonfood goods rose 0.4% (0.5%) and services went up 0.1% (0.7%).

The core inflation index, which excludes short-term irregular price changes caused by various factors of an administrative, once-off and seasonal nature, was 100.3% in November 2009 and 108.0% in January-November 2009 (101.1% and 112.7% in the respective periods of last year).

The consumer basket of staple foods averaged up 0.3% to 2,108 rubles per person per month in November 2009. The basket fell 0.4% in price in January-November.

The basket was most expensive in Chukotka at 6,541 rubles, the Magadan region (3,794 rubles), Kamchatka (3,697 rubles), Sakhalin (3,623 rubles) and Yakutia (3,513 rubles). It was least expensive in Tatarstan (1,697 rubles), Ulyanovsk region (1,723 rubles) and Chuvashia (1,742 rubles).

The basket grew 0.4% in November in the City of Moscow to 2,379 rubles (1.7% in the 11 months) and was unchanged in St Petersburg at 2,294 rubles (rose 0.7% in the 11 months).

Bread and baked products averaged up 0.1% in November (2.4% in the 11 months). Sunflower oil fell 0.6% (fell 19.4%).

Fruit and vegetables went up 0.9% (fell 4.5%).

Meat and poultry fell 0.4% (grew 5.3%), fish and seafood fell 0.9% (rose 11.1%), eggs rose 1.3% (fell 15%), milk and dairy products rose 1.1% (rose 0.9%) and butter went up 3.2% (4.3%).

Sugar prices fell 0.5% in November (grew 42.2% in the 11 months).

Alcoholic beverages went up 0.4% (8.5%).

Retail gasoline prices dropped for the second month in a row in November, edging down 0.1% following a decline of 0.1% in October. Diesel fuel prices rose 1.6% in November, while prices on high-grade AI-92 gasoline (including AI-93, etc.) declined 0.2% in the month.

Gasoline prices rose 10.2% in January-November 2009. Gasoline prices in November were 2.1% higher than in the same month last year.

Housing and utility charges rose 19.4% in January-November 2009. Growth in November slowed to 0.2%, from 0.4% in October.

The biggest November increases were 24.9% for electricity and 24.4% for hot water.

Growth in housing charges continues to outpace inflation. These charges rose 16.2% in January-November 2008, when inflation was 12.5%.

The Russian Economic Development Ministry expects inflation to be 9% in 2009. Russia had 13.3% inflation in 2008, the highest yearly rate since the 15.1% recorded in 2002.

The official 2010 inflation forecast is so far 9%-10%, but the Econ Ministry says this may be lowered.