MOSCOW, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Russia has registered weekly
deflation for the second time this year, data for the week to
Aug. 2 showed on Wednesday, pointing to a possible decline in
the inflationary pressure that prompted its central bank to
sharply raise rates last month.
Russia's consumer price index declined 0.06% in the week to
Aug. 2, mostly driven by a fall in the price of vegetables, the
federal statistics service Rosstat said.
Inflation data is closely monitored by the market and the
central bank, which last month raised its key interest rate by
100 basis points to 6.5%, its sharpest increase since 2014, in
an effort to curb rising consumer prices.
Inflation is a sensitive issue in Russia ahead of September
parliamentary elections as it eats into incomes already dented
by the COVID-19 crisis and the weak rouble.
Annual consumer inflation, the central bank's main area of
responsibility, exceeded the 4% target in November and climbed
to 6.5% in June, its highest since August 2016.
Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected annual
inflation to accelerate to 6.6% in July. Rosstat will publish
monthly inflation data on Thursday.
So far this year, the consumer price index rose 4.53%,
Rosstat said on Wednesday. The central bank expects inflation to
end this year at 5.7-6.2%, before returning to 4.0-4.5% in 2022.
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh;
Editing by Alexander Smith)