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Russian Beer Prices at 17-Year High – Report

Beer prices in Russia are at a 17-year high as the market is squeezed by government regulation and falling consumption, according to a report in the Izvestia newspaper Friday.

The cost of a liter of beer in Russia is now about 84 rubles ($1.40), twelve percent more than at the beginning of 2014 and the highest level since 1998, Izvestia said, citing data from Nielsen, a consumer research firm. A spokesperson for Nielsen confirmed the accuracy of the data.

The Russian beer market contracted 10.5 percent in January compared to the same period a year earlier, its biggest fall for half a decade, the paper said.

Brewers in Russia are streamlining operations and raising prices amid high excise duties, government regulation and decreased consumer spending caused by an economic slump.

According to state statistics service data, Russian headline inflation is running at almost 17 percent, propelled by a sharp devaluation of the ruble and bans on food imports from the European Union and the United States imposed in retaliation for sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine. Real wages are meanwhile falling.

Baltika, one of Russia's largest beer producers, said in January that it was closing two of the 10 breweries it operates in Russia, reducing capacity by 15 percent and cutting 600 staff. 

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