Russia’s economy ministry said on Friday it expected annual inflation to peak in March and then gradual decline, after it had hit 5.7% in February, which was well above the central bank’s 4% target. The ministry said it saw month-on-month inflation slowing to 0.5%-0.6% by the end of March, down from 0.8% in February. Earlier in January, Russia’s main barometers of economic health, such as employment, consumer demand and wages, all exceeded expectations, opening the door for economic recovery in 2021. Surprisingly optimistic figures from Russia’s statistics agency alarmed some experts and investors in the past, raising concerns about data accuracy which Rosstat has always dismissed. Economic growth and a recovery in living standards in Russia are a crucial issue for President Vladimir Putin and the United Russian ruling party.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2021.

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