Bloomberg News

Russian Inflation Probably Slowest in Year in September on Food

October 03, 2011

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Russian inflation was probably the slowest in a year in September as food-price growth weakened and higher borrowing costs took hold.

Consumer prices rose 7.2 percent from a year earlier following an 8.2 percent increase the previous month, according to the median estimate of 14 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Prices declined 0.1 percent from August, the survey showed. The Federal Statistics Service in Moscow may publish the data today.

Russia’s inflation rate has dropped from 9.6 percent in May, equaling its highest in 18 months. A further easing in prices would help policy makers meet this year’s 7 percent inflation target, the slowest since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Bank Rossii said yesterday it aims to slow price gains to 4 percent to 5 percent in 2014.

“We expect inflation to be contained to 6.7 percent this year thanks to the good harvest and deflationary effects seen this summer,” Maria Pomelnikova, an analyst at Raiffeisenbank in Moscow, said yesterday by phone. “The slowdown in inflation was helped by tighter monetary policy, including a tightening of the interest-rate corridor.”

‘Liquidity Shortfalls’

The central bank last month raised the deposit rate, which it uses to absorb rubles from the banking system, while lowering the repurchase rate that lenders use to borrow extra cash. The move “helps limit volatility of money market interest rates as risks arise of ruble-liquidity shortfalls in the banking system,” the regulator said Sept. 14.

Policy makers raised the overnight auction-based deposit rate five times since December to 3.75 percent from 2.5 percent. The repurchase rate was raised twice, from 5 percent to 5.5 percent, before being reduced by a quarter-point last month. That narrowed the so-called interest-rate corridor in which market rates tend to fluctuate to 1.5 percentage points from 2.5 percentage points. The benchmark refinancing rate remained at 8.25 percent.

Slower inflation has boosted consumer spending this year as real wages rise. Food retailers such as X5 Retail Group and OAO Magnit and manufacturers including OAO AvtoVAZ, the country’s largest car maker, have benefited from a surge in domestic demand.

This year’s grain harvest may reach 93 million metric tons, 53 percent more than a year ago, when drought cut the crop to 60.9 million tons, Arkady Zlochevsky, president of the Russian Grain Union, told reporters yesterday in Moscow. About 25 million tons of grain may be exported, he said.

--With assistance from Marina Sysoyeva and Zoya Shilova in Moscow. Editors: Andrew Langley, Alan Crosby

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Rose in Moscow at rrose10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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