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Russia to focus on cutting inflation - finance minister Kudrin

February 11, 2008 | RIA Novosti

Reducing inflation is a priority for Russia, as inflation hampers long-term investment in industry and processing branches, Russia's finance minister said Saturday.

"In Russia, inflation has become a brake for long-term investment... The credit rate cannot be lower than inflation, and Russia's credit rates exceed those at U.S. and European markets by several times," Alexei Kudrin, who is also a deputy prime minister, told journalists.

Kudrin is attending a G7 outreach meeting in Tokyo. Finance ministers and central bank heads from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada gathered to discuss the current instability on global stock markets and high oil prices and the affect they are having on the world economy.

Inflation has been Russia's biggest worry. With global oil prices and the influx of petrodollars unlikely to subside in 2008, the government may fail to restrain consumer price growth.

Inflation in Russia stood at 11.9% in 2007, exceeding the government's initial target of 8% for last year. Inflation in 2006 was 9%, in line with government targets.

Earlier, Kudrin said the Russian government intends to keep inflation within the projected figure of 8.5% in 2008.

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