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Hungary could extend scope of price caps in coming weeks -Orban

Hungary's parliament convenes for autumn session, in Budapest

BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Hungary's government could extend the scope of price caps on fuel and some basic food over coming weeks, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio on Friday.

Hungarian inflation surged to more than 20% in September, exceeding market expectations, fuelled by a 35.2% increase in food prices and a 62.1% increase in energy prices after Orban's government curtailed utility bill subsidies for some households.

Nationalist Orban has sharply criticised the European Union for imposing sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying they had failed to weaken Moscow meaningfully while causing a surge in food and energy prices.

Orban said "all facets of economic policy" had to work towards his objective of curbing price growth into the single-digit range by the end of next year, including with the possible extension of price caps on some goods.

"That is why we will make decisions continuously over the coming weeks to extend the list of centrally regulated products with new ones," Orban said.

"There will be new products the prices of which we want to maximise centrally as is already the case with six basic types of food," he added without elaborating.

Last month, Orban's government extended price caps on fuels and basic foodstuff until the end of this year in a bid to shield households from soaring costs.

Economists polled by Reuters see average inflation rising to 15% next year from 14% expected in 2022, with price growth exceeding the central bank's 2% to 4% target range even in 2024.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Alex Richardson, Robert Birsel)