Russian annual inflation hits 16.9 percent in March, but slows on monthly basis

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Russia's consumer price inflation hit 16.9 percent in March as the country heads for recession, the state statistics agency Rosstat said Monday.

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While annual inflation has continued to rise to levels last seen in 2002, month-on-month inflation has slowed so far this year to 1.2 percent in March, down from 2.2 percent in February and 3.9 percent in January.

Inflation of food prices remained above the overall rate of inflation, with 23 percent growth year-on-year in March and 1.6 percent against February's prices. Russia's government has banned food imports from the European Union and other Western countries since August in response to sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Russia's central bank expects the country's gross domestic product to contract by between 3.5 and 4 percent this year.