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RF economics ministry raises 2009 inflation forecast to 5.8-7%

January 29, 2008 | RIA Novosti

Russia's economics ministry has raised its forecast for 2009 inflation from 5.5-6.5% to 5.8-7%, a senior ministry official said on Monday.

"I do not consider the forecast too optimistic," Andrei Klepach, head of the ministry's macroeconomic forecasts, told reporters after a government commission session on the country's socioeconomic development in the mid term.

Klepach added the forecast could change and pledged measures to keep inflation at the lowest possible level.

The ministry said inflation in 2008 would reach 7.5-8.5%, a forecast the former economics minister German Gref called "too optimistic."

Inflation has been Russia's biggest worry. With prices of commodities and the influx of petrodollars unlikely to subside in 2008, the government may fail to restrain rising prices.

The government attempted to fix prices for basic foods in the fall of 2007 reaching an agreement with large retailers and food producers until the end of the year. The measure did not have much impact with inflation overshooting last year's target of 8%.

The official said the forecast for 2010 remained unchanged. "We expect structural changes to the economy, a tougher monetary police and anti-inflation measures being drafted will allow us to meet the set inflation target of 5%-6% a year."

In December, the Finance Ministry raised its inflation forecast for the next three years to 7.5-8.5% in 2008, 5.8-7% in 2009, and left the 2010 forecast at 5-6% unchanged.

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