(Reuters) -Annual inflation in Russia accelerated to 16.70% as of April 1, its highest since March 2015 and up from 15.66% a week earlier, the economy ministry said on Wednesday, as the volatile rouble sent prices soaring amid unprecedented Western sanctions.
Inflation in Russia has accelerated sharply in the past few weeks as the rouble’s fall to an all-time low boosted demand for a wide range of goods from food staples to cars on expectations prices will rise even more.
Weekly inflation in Russia slowed to 0.99% in the week to April 1 from 1.16% a week earlier, taking the year-to-date increase in consumer prices to 9.99%, data from statistics service Rosstat showed on Wednesday.
In the same three-month period a year ago, consumer prices rose 2.72%.
In the week to April 1, prices on nearly everything from vegetables and sugar to clothes and smartphones kept on rising further but at a slower pace than in previous weeks as the rouble recovered from record lows hit in March.
The central bank, which targets annual inflation at 4%, held its key rate at 20% in March and warned of an imminent spike in inflation and a looming economic contraction.
Nearly 75% of people polled online by Finam brokerage expected 2022 inflation to exceed 20% but analysts say further inflationary risks will be limited by a drop in real incomes, the financial firm said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by ReutersEditing by Mark Heinrich)