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Last update: Tue, 09 Feb 2016 02am

Russian prices jump at fastest rate in 16 years

Russia's consumer prices rose by nearly four percent in January - a rate unseen in 16 years - pushing annual inflation to 15 percent, the state statistics service said Thursday. Prices climbed by 3.9 percent from December, the fastest rate since February 1999, when Russia was still reeling from a 1998 default that knocked the value of the ruble.

Food prices rose even faster: by over 20 percent over the year and 5.7 percent since last month. Prices for fresh produce were particularly hard hit, with prices of cabbages, tomatoes and cucumbers rising by 40 percent during the month. The figures surpass recent forecasts and reflect the falling value of the ruble increasing the prices of imported goods.

Last week the government predicted annual inflation would come in at 13.1 percent at the end of January, nearly two percentage points below the 15 percent rate reported by the statistics service. Russia's Central Bank predicted last week that inflation will not peak until the second quarter of 2015.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015