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The decision to freeze prices on stable food products in Russia
The decision to freeze prices on stable food products in Russia has produced no significant results, experts told a roundtable at RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Under an agreement, concluded last fall between Russian food producers and major retail chains, prices of milk, eggs, vegetable oil, bread and kefir (a fermented milk drink) were frozen from October 24 until January 31, 2008, but the deal was then extended for a further three months.

"Whether Russians like it or not, prices will increase," X5 Retail Group's Managing Director of Corporate Relations, Yuri Kobaladze said.

The chairman of the Russian State Duma's expert council for agriculture, Alexander Fomin said, "This is a political action, and totally political not an economic mechanism."

Food price hikes accelerated in Russia over the summer and autumn, following trends on global markets. According to the country's statistics service, the fastest growth in September last year was demonstrated by rapeseed and soybean oil prices (13.5%), pasteurized milk (9.4%), fermented milk products (7.9%) and curds (7.4% - 7.5%).

Driven by food price growth, consumer prices in Russia grew 7.5% in the first nine months of 2007, or 0.3% more than in the same period of last year. In September alone they climbed 0.8%, making the government's 8% inflation target for 2007 unrealistic.


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