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Russian November consumer prices rise on food

Russian consumer prices grew in November at double the pace of a month earlier, driven by higher fruit and vegetable prices, economists surveyed by Bloomberg said.

Consumer prices grew 0.6% in November, the fastest pace in four months, according to the median forecast of 14 economists surveyed by Bloomberg October 24. That compares with a monthly 0.3% in October. Official figures will be released later this week. The annual inflation rate will be released in about two weeks. Rising wages and employment have sparked a consumer spending boom in Russia, underpinned by swelling revenue from oil and natural gas, its main exports. Prices probably rose 0.5% to 0.6% in November, the Economy Ministry said in its economic monitoring report published on November 29. “Because there's no harvest in November, factors that were keeping inflation down, such as lower fruit and vegetable prices, are no longer there” said Evgeniy Nadorshin, an economist at Trust Investment Bank in Moscow, speaking before the report was released. “Fruit and vegetables imports are much higher in November and that pushes prices up.” Russia is heading for an eighth year of economic expansion, as high oil prices help swell the nation's foreign currency reserves, allowing it to pay back debt. Economy Minister German Gref said November 21 annual inflation will slow to about 9% by year end, in line with the government's target. Russia missed its 10% inflation target both last year and in 2004. (Bloomberg)