Russia inflation slows in May to 17.1%

A person shops at a supermarket in Moscow in April 2022. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Annual inflation in Russia slowed to 17.1 per cent in May from a two-decade high of 17.8 per cent in April, the state statistics agency said on Wednesday (June 8).

Nevertheless, food price inflation, a huge concern for Russians on low incomes, picked up to 21.5 per cent year-on-year last month from 20.5 per cent in April, Rosstat said in a statement.

Sugar prices have gone up by 61.4 per cent, pasta by 29.2 per cent, and fruit and vegetables by 26.3 per cent, the data showed.

Since President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on Feb 24, Russia has been hit with a barrage of international sanctions, including embargoes on key exports, fuelling already high inflation.

Annual inflation could reach 23 per cent this year before slowing down next year and returning to the target of 4 per cent in 2024, the Central Bank has said.

Putin last month said that inflation would not exceed 15 per cent for the year as a whole.

The price hikes have considerably undermined the purchasing power of everyday Russians who have little savings.

Retail sales fell by 9.7 per cent in April year-on-year, data showed.

In late May, the central bank cut its key interest rate following an emergency meeting as authorities sought to rein in the ruble which has surged in value.

The central bank is scheduled to hold its next rate-setting meeting on Friday.

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