MOSCOW, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Consumer prices in Russia rose slightly for a seventh straight week in early November, data released on Wednesday showed, as the central bank tries to balance competing inflationary pressures across the economy.
Russia’s consumer price index rose 0.01 percent in the week to Nov. 7, Rosstat’s federal statistics service said. That was lower than the 0.07 percent rise in prices recorded a week earlier, a trend some analysts said was a sign of weakening consumer demand.
Russia’s economy is caught between short-term disinflationary pressures, exacerbated by the call-up of more than 300,000 reservists to support Moscow’s military operations in Ukraine, and longer-term trends that are likely to see prices rise, he warned the central bank.
Last month marked the end of its cycle of rate cuts, as it kept its key rate at 7.5%, completing a series of aggressive cuts that returned the rate to pre-February levels. The regulator had raised rates to 20% after the West imposed broad sanctions on Moscow for sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24.
In a separate set of data, the economy ministry said inflation stood at 12.52 percent annually, down from 12.69 percent the previous week.
The central bank aims for 4% inflation.
Since the beginning of the year, prices have increased by 10.67%, Rosstat said. At the same time in 2021, year-to-date inflation stood at 7.51%.
High inflation has been a concern for Russian households for years, as it affects their purchasing power and affects living standards. Poverty rates are relatively high in Russia, and surveys show that more than half of households have no savings.
Consumer expectations for future price increases have grown recently and Russia’s partial mobilization could stoke long-term inflation due to its impact on the labor force, the central bank said last month.
Analysts have warned that Russia’s mobilization could hamper the economy’s fragile recovery.
The central bank said it will likely be disinflationary in the near term due to the impact of consumer spending, and economic data from October has already shown deeper falls in retail sales, economic output and business confidence .
“The main reason for the downward trend in inflation is the weakening of consumer demand,” Alfa Bank analysts said. “Slow consumer demand will be an important factor in reducing inflation risks in the coming months.”
Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Jake Cordell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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