Russian inflation unexpectedly decelerated in September for the first time in three months as a recession chokes domestic demand.
Consumer-price growth slowed to 15.7 percent from a year earlier after a 15.8 percent gain in August, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said in a statement Monday. The median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for 15.8 percent. Prices increased 0.6 percent in the month.
The surprise deceleration shows a deepening economic slump is outweighing the impact of the ruble’s depreciation in July-August as consumer demand reels amid Russia’s first recession since 2009. With inflation almost fourfold the central bank’s mid-term target, policy makers last month paused an easing cycle for the first time in 2015 after six percentage points of interest-rate cuts since January brought their benchmark to 11 percent.
“It could be an early sign that this weakness of the economy is having a stronger effect on inflation than a weaker currency,” William Jackson, an analyst at London-based Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone before the data release. “The weakness of domestic demand is acting to bring inflation down.”
The ruble, which has lost almost 39 percent against the dollar in the past year, has staged a comeback during the last month for the best performance among its emerging-market peers. The Russian currency strengthened 1.5 percent to 65.0050 versus the dollar as of 4:10 p.m. in Moscow.