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Russian Inflation Surges to 9.1 Percent in November; Food Prices Skyrocket

The ruble has weakened almost 40 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, but experts say inflation has also been driven Russia's August ban on food imports from the U.S. and EU.

Inflation in Russia climbed 1.3 percent in November, bringing the monthly rate compared with a year earlier to 9.1 percent, state statistics service Rosstat said Thursday.

The acceleration is the fastest since June 2011, as consumer prices are forced upward by a weakening ruble and a Russian ban on food imports from the U.S. and European Union.

Food products have seen the fastest upticks with the price of Russian staple buckwheat rocketing 54.4 percent in November on fears of shortages. The cost of fresh tomatoes jumped 34.9 percent, the price of cucumbers 20.7 percent and the price of potatoes 12.6 percent, according to Rosstat.

President Vladimir Putin said in a keynote speech earlier on Monday that the ruble's devaluation was "intensifying risks of a short-term inflation spike."

The ruble has weakened almost 40 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, but experts say inflation has also been driven Russia's August ban on food imports from the U.S. and EU, imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions on Moscow following its support of separatists in Ukraine.

In April, Putin said that he hoped the Central Bank could keep inflation between 6 percent and 6.5 percent this year. The regulator was initially targeting 5 percent inflation for 2014.

Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said earlier this month that the annual inflation rate was unlikely to exceed 10 percent.

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