Russian annual inflation hits 16.9 per cent in March, but slows on monthly basis

MOSCOW – Russia’s consumer price inflation hit 16.9 per cent in March as the country heads for recession, the state statistics agency Rosstat said Monday.

While annual inflation has continued to rise to levels last seen in 2002, month-on-month inflation has slowed so far this year to 1.2 per cent in March, down from 2.2 per cent in February and 3.9 per cent in January.

Inflation of food prices remained above the overall rate of inflation, with 23 per cent growth year-on-year in March and 1.6 per cent against February’s prices. Russia’s government has banned food imports from the European Union and other Western countries since August in response to sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s central bank expects the country’s gross domestic product to contract by between 3.5 and 4 per cent this year.