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Russia Considering Introducing Food Price Controls as Inflation Soars

A customer stands in front of shelves at the fish department of a hypermarket in Moscow.

The Russian government is discussing the introduction of price caps for essential food products, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was quoted as saying Tuesday.

A slump in the ruble and a ban on the import of some Western food products last year have led to a surge in inflation, hitting consumers. Inflation is not seen easing in 2015 and will be at 12 percent by the end of the year, the Economic Development Ministry forecasts.

News agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax quoted Dvorkovich as saying that there would be possible restrictions on raising retail prices for socially significant products. "We will see how to efficiently place [restrictions] into law," he said.

 The government may also give the state competition watchdog more power in enforcing existing retail market regulations, RIA reported Dvorkovich as saying. It did not provide further details.

Dvorkovich's comments follow a series of store inspections by the Prosecutor General's Office across Russia aimed at exposing unjustified price increases. However, top grocery chains have said increases in their shelf prices have lagged the broader inflation rate.

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