Ukrainian Inflation Unexpectedly Quickens on Tariffs, Hryvnia

  • Price growth accelerates for first time in seven months
  • Central bank to cut rates in 2016 if 12% CPI target is met

Ukrainian inflation, the world’s second-fastest, accelerated for the first time in seven months in November, spurred by higher utility tariffs and a weaker hryvnia.

Consumer prices advanced 46.6 percent from a year earlier after rising 46.4 percent in October, the Kiev-based statistics committee said Monday on its website. That exceeds the 45.7 percent median forecast of five economists in a Bloomberg survey. Inflation was 2 percent from the previous month compared with minus 1.3 percent in October, it said.

Ukrainian inflation has soared since the nation’s political and military conflicts sent the hryvnia tumbling and prompted the government to raise prices for hot water and heating to narrow the budget shortfall and meet the terms of a $17.5 billion bailout. The central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 22 percent in October after price growth topped its forecast. It plans to trim borrowing costs “significantly” next year as long as a 12 percent inflation goal is met, according to Governor Valeriya Gontareva.

“Inflation was mainly driven by one-off factors, namely, the second stage of the heating-tariff hike, and market turbulence that prompted importers to raise prices,” Olena Bilan, chief economist at investment bank Dragon Capital in Kiev, said by phone. “Inflation will significantly decelerate starting in March or April next year as the effects from this year’s devaluation pass-through fade.”

The hryvnia, which lost almost 4 percent against the dollar in November, has strengthened about 3.5 percent this month, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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