Inflation Rate Reaches 9.1% Since January

Consumer prices grew 0.2 percent in the second week of July, bringing accumulated price rises to 9.1 percent since the start of the year, the State Statistics Service said Wednesday.

The service also said the consumer price index had grown 0.4 percent since the beginning of July, compared with a 0.6 percent rise in the same period of 2007. In the year to June 14, 2007, CPI was up 6.3 percent.

"This is pretty much in line with what expectations are, but they have been pretty poor for Russia for quite some time," said Roland Nash, of Renaissance Capital.

"There is some tendency in the past month or so for inflation to come down a bit -- but this is seasonal," he said. Prices tend to come down during the summer harvest months.

The Central Bank earlier this week raised all its interest rates by 25 basis points -- the fourth such move this year to combat soaring inflation.

In the past week, it has also effectively strengthened the ruble by failing to intervene on the interbank market thus allowing it to pass a support level of 29.51 to a euro-dollar basket June 9, and then above 29.41 on Monday.

Last year, inflation reached 11.9 percent and the government hopes to rein in price rises to between 9 and 10.5 percent.

Analysts have said the target seems unlikely because of sky-high food and energy prices, which have caused headaches for governments around the world.