4 Aug 2009 17:25

Russia had inflation of 0.6% in July, 8.1% since start of 2009

MOSCOW. Aug 4 (Interfax) - Russia posted inflation of 0.6% in July 2009 compared to 0.5% in July 2008, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said on Tuesday.

Inflation also totaled 0.6% in June 2009.

July marked the first month since March that inflation was higher than it was in the same month of last year. The higher inflation was the result of an increase in the cost of gasoline as well as fruits and vegetables in addition to growth in tariffs for gas in the utilities sector and in passenger travel.

Consumer prices increased 8.1% in January-July 2009, or 1.2 percentage points less than the 9.3% inflation seen in the first seven months of last year.

Inflation was 12% from the period from July 2008 to July 2009 compared to 11.9% in annual terms in June.

The final inflation figures for July coincided with Rosstat's preliminary estimates of last week.

The rise in inflation in July slightly exceeded the 0.5% forecast analysts had anticipated in a consensus compiled by Interfax.

The main factor impacting food prices in July was a 3.2% rise in the cost of fruits and vegetables, which was mainly a result of products from the new harvest coming onto the market. The opposite trend was seen in July 2008, when fruit and vegetable prices fell 6.7%, leading to a sharp slowdown in inflation. Potatoes saw the biggest price increase in July 2009, rising 13.1%.

Gasoline prices also increased considerably for the second month in a row, growing 7.1% following an 8.8% rise in June.

Food prices grew 0.6% in Russia in July 2009 following growth of 0.5% in June 2009. Excluding fruit and vegetables, food prices rose only 0.2% in July versus 0.1% in June. Nonfood prices increased 0.6% in July 2009 following an increase of 0.8% in June.

The cost of paid services rose 0.8% in July compared to 0.5% in June. Tariffs on gas supplies in the utilities sector rose 4.1% last month, while tariffs on passenger transportation increased 1.8%. Seven regions and territories in Russia saw consumer prices rise 1.0% or more in July. The biggest increase in prices and tariffs was in the Chukotka autonomous region, where prices rose 3.2% on average, including an increase of 6.7% for food. Moscow saw inflation of 0.8% in July and 8.9% since the start of 2009, while St. Petersburg had inflation of 0.6% and 8.5%, respectively.

The core consumer price index, which excludes short-term fluctuations from various seasonal factors and one-off events, was 100.3% in July and 106.3% in the first seven months of the year (compared with 100.8% in July 2008 and 107.6% in January-July 2008).

The Economic Development Ministry's revised forecast is for inflation of 12%-12.5% in 2009. Analysts told Interfax in a consensus forecast at the end of July that inflation this year will equal 11.3%.

Russia had 13.3% inflation in 2008, the highest yearly rate since the 15.1% recorded in 2002.