MOSCOW (Reuters) - Consumer inflation in Russia accelerated to 8.39% in 2021 despite seven interest rate hikes by the central bank, up from 4.91% in 2020, preliminary data from the statistics service Rosstat showed on Wednesday.
Inflation, which is hovering near its highest levels since early 2016, has become an acute problem for Russia, denting living standards and prompting President Vladimir Putin to call for preemptive measures.
The increase in the consumer price index in 2021 came above analysts' expectations for a rise of 8.2% in a Reuters poll carried out in late December.
The central bank, which targets inflation at 4%, had to revise its inflation forecasts higher during the year but kept saying that the pace of annual consumer price growth would near the target in 2022.
The bank is expected to raise rates again, from 8.5%, in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Reuters monthly poll.
In the week to Dec. 27, the consumer price index rose 0.26%, Rosstat said.
Rosstat said it would publish the final inflation reading on Jan. 12.
Rosstat gave the following details:
RUSSIAN CPI Dec 21* Nov 21 Dec 20
Mth/mth pct change +0.82 +0.96 +0.83
- food +1.36 +1.27 +1.53
- non-food +0.64 +0.72 +0.40
- services +0.26 +0.81 +0.42
Y/Y pct change +8.39 +8.40 +4.91
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Gareth Jones)