Prices Up 5.6% Since January

Consumer prices rose 5.6 percent from the start of the year to April 14, the State Statistics Service said Wednesday, casting more doubt over whether the government can keep 2008 inflation in single digits.

The consumer price index rose 0.8 percent in the first 14 days of April, the data showed. The figures also confirmed information obtained earlier by Reuters showing that the country's CPI rose 0.3 percent from April 8 to April 14.

The CPI rose 4.8 percent in the first three months of the year, bringing price growth from the beginning of the year to April 14 to 5.6 percent, the statistics showed.

Consumer prices rose 11.9 percent in 2007, exceeding the government's target of around 8 percent by a wide margin.

"On May 1, we may see the greater part of the population standing up against this, because every 1 percent increase in inflation adds hundreds of thousands of people to the number living in poverty," said Antanta Capital banking analyst Maxim Osadchy, referring to the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

Analysts have said they expect inflation to exceed 10 percent for the full year, putting pressure on the Central Bank to raise its key rates and minimal reserve requirement and possibly allow the ruble to appreciate further.

Inflation is running at more than 13 percent year on year in the first quarter despite outflows of $22.8 billion caused by global market jitters.