Russian consumer prices extended their decline for the eighth week running, data showed on Wednesday, thanks to a seasonal drop in fruit and vegetable prices, sluggish consumer demand and the rouble’s strengthening over the past few months.
The consumer prices index dipped 0.16% in the week to Aug. 29 after easing 0.15% a week earlier, the federal statistics service Rosstat said on Wednesday.
The decline may open the door for interest more rate cuts by the central bank. The bank slashed its key rate by 150 basis points to 8% last month and indicated it was ready to consider further monetary easing to help the economy. The next board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16.
Despite the recent incremental declines in the CPI, prices for nearly everything, from milk and sugar to clothes and smartphones, have soared since Feb. 24 when Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.
Year-to-date, prices for foreign-made cars, sanitary pads and soap rose by around 40%, while the headline consumer price index rose 10.38% compared with a 4.69% increase in the same period of 2021, Rosstat data showed.
High inflation has been one of the key concerns among households for years as it dents their spending power and living standards, something that this year will be aggravated by recession in the economy.
Russia’s economy will shrink by less than 3% in 2022, a top government official said this week, far less than initially expected, suggesting the economy is dealing with sweeping Western sanctions better than feared.