Inflation Halts as CPI Flat for Week

Inflation halted in the last full week of July, with the consumer price index flat for the first time since the State Statistics Service started releasing the indicator in March.

The statistics service said Wednesday that the consumer price index had risen 0.5 percent since the start of the month and 9.3 percent since the start of the year. It rose 0.9 percent in July 2007.

Consumer prices traditionally fall in Russia because of cheaper fruit and vegetables. The service said fruit and vegetable prices fell by 2.1 percent on average in the week ending Monday.

The Economic Development Ministry on Wednesday estimated July CPI growth at 0.5 to 0.6 percent, compared with 0.9 percent in July 2007, and said the inflation rate had begun to fall.

The ministry this week raised its 2008 inflation forecast to 11.8 percent from 10.5 percent, but analysts dismissed the new forecast as out of touch with reality.