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The rate of inflation will total 3.7-3.9% in January-February 2005
The rate of inflation will total 3.7-3.9% in January-February 2005, German Gref, the minister of economic development and trade, said at a cabinet session on Thursday. In his words, "our priority is to make the most of all the available instruments for controlling inflation this year." In the first place, the growth in utilities tariffs should be curbed in the regions, he said. "We should keep tariff growth within 25-30%. Further increase should be prevented," said Mr. Gref. According to the minister, the growth rate of prices for oil, metals and other raw materials may reach 20% on the foreign markets. Mr. Gref recalled that producer price growth had exceeded 28% in 2004, with ferrous metal prices increasing by 56% and petrol prices by 34%. In his opinion, inflation growth can be curtailed by preventing undue increase in prices for oil products and metals on the domestic market. "It is important to prevent such a situation when price growth on the domestic market exceeds that on the foreign markets," stressed the minister. According to Mr. Gref, the solution lies in tough measures of anti-trust regulation. He also deems it possible to involve the tariff regulation mechanism in the process.
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