© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman carries eggs as she visits a food market, which operates once a week on Saturday, in the Russian southern city of Stavropol, March 7, 2015. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko/File Photo
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Annual inflation in Russia slowed further in September, but consumer prices rose in month-on-month terms for the first time since May, data showed on Friday, adding more credence to expectations the central bank’s rate-cutting cycle may be over.
Inflation has slowed since accelerating sharply after Russia began what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24, triggering sweeping Western sanctions and disrupting logistics chains, but recent data suggests the trend could be reversing once more.
In September, annual inflation slowed to 13.68% from 14.30% a month earlier, almost in line with expectations of analysts polled by Reuters for 13.6%, data from the statistics service Rosstat showed.
The Bank of Russia targets annual inflation at 4%.
Month-on-month, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.05% after a 0.52% drop in August. In March, the index jumped 7.61%, the biggest month-on-month increase since January 1999.
Though slower annual inflation may give the central bank further grounds to cut interest rates later this month, the month-on-month rise vindicates the Bank of Russia in its decision to omit guidance about studying the need for future key rate reductions, when it trimmed rates to 7.5% in September.
Economists polled by Reuters expect the central bank to hold rates at its Oct. 28 board meeting. Inflationary expectations have also started rising again.
High inflation has been one of the main concerns among households for years as it dents living standards, something that this year will be aggravated by economic recession.
Rosstat gave the following details:
RUSSIAN CPI Sept 22 Aug 22 Sept 21
Mth/mth pct change +0.05 -0.52 +0.60
– food -0.38 -1.36 +0.99
– non-food +0.15 -0.05 +0.64
– services +0.51 +0.05 +0.00
Y/Y pct change +13.68 +14.30 +7.40
Core CPI y/y pct change +17.11 +17.71 +7.61