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Claus Vistesen and I also have a number of country briefings and study papers available for download in PDF format. The latest are:

Bank Rossii Eases Further As Russia's Economy Contracts At A Record Rate

The ECB's Balance Sheet At A Glance.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Russian Inflation Eases Back Ever So Slightly In July

Russia's July inflation rate fell back a bit in July from its highest level in five and a half years to 14.7 percent as fruit and vegetables costs declined. Annual price growth fell more than expected from 15.1 percent in June, according to the latest data from the Federal Statistics Service this morning. Month on month, prices were up 0.5 percent, led by a 6.7 percent decline in fruit and vegetables.

Russian indutry is also slowing, and manufacturing output rose in July at the slowest pace in two and a half years after inflation led to job cuts and fewer orders, according to VTB Bank Europe's Purchasing Managers' Index from Aug. 1. Services however are still expanding rapidly, and there is little sign of the credit driven consumer boom abating yet. So there is not that much to cheer about in this months report, since inflation is clearly a long way from being beaten.

Bank Rossii has raised interest rates four times this year in a bid to reduce consumer demand and inflation. The bank has also expanded the ruble's trading band at least three times since May 14, when it said it would intervene in foreign-exchange markets at varied and unpublicized levels to deter speculators and curb inflation.

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