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Govt to Fight Inflation with Cash

January 31, 2008 | www.kommersant.com

Ahead of the anti-inflation session at the Government, the Russian Statistics Agency reported that prices in January have gone up a whopping 2.4 percent, compared to 1.7 percent in January 2007. The Russian White House is to open the debate on inflation by endorsing a 331 billion ruble hike in budget spending.
Director of the Statistics Agency Vladimir Sokolin said Wednesday prices have already gone up 2.3 to 2.4 percent in January, compared to 1.7 percent last January. The result has beaten earlier forecasts of the Economic Development Ministry which update the anticipated figure from 1.8 percent to 2 percent last week. However, financial and economic officials won’t review the macroeconomic prognosis for 2008 and expected inflation growth. The inflation plan, however, was revised from 7 to 8.5 percent last week.

“January inflation is no surprise,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, chief of the expert department at the Russian presidential administration. “We knew that utilities rates were scheduled to be raised.” The inflation, however, will be beaten by the “outpacing growth of pension and benefits,” he believes.

The government is to endorse on Wednesday a 331.3 billion ruble hike in social spendings for 2008. The government had to raise pensions after financial officials failed to keep inflation last year within the 8 percent target as consumer prices added almost 12 percent. The White House is also expected to increase the basic part of pensions by 15 percent in August and the insured part 12 percent in February up from a planned 8 percent. The government will also raise salaries for employees of state-run companies.

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