More trouble for the Russian economy ahead: It just significantly raised its inflation forecast, despite Putin saying price hikes are hurting businesses

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Armenia in November 2022.

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Russia’s economy ministry has raised the country’s 2023 inflation forecast from 5.3% to 7.5%, per TASS.
Russia’s economy and the ruble’s value have been hit by the war in Ukraine, driving up inflation.
Russian President Putin said on Tuesday high inflation is making it “practically impossible” for businesses to make plans.

Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t getting any assurance from the country’s ministry overseeing the economy.

Russia’s economic development ministry just raised its inflation forecast for this year from 5.3% to 7.5%, TASS state news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a document from the authority.

The ministry did not appear to have provided a reason for the hike. The revised assessment comes as Russia’s war against Ukraine approaches its 19th month, even amid sweeping sanctions against Moscow.

Russia’s economy has been impacted by the sanctions — with consumers cutting back on daily necessities — even as the country’s wartime spending is somewhat supporting growth.

The forecast hike in Russia’s inflation rate came just hours after Putin gave his take on the country’s economy at the Eastern Economic Forum in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok.

Putin acknowledged in a Tuesday speech that Russia’s high inflation rate is causing difficulties for the country’s economy, adding that it was “practically impossible” for companies to make business plans. Russian inflation accelerated 5.15% year-over-year in August, well above the central bank’s 4% annual inflation target.

Even so, Putin sought to project an image of calm in the country’s economy and praised the Russian central bank, which raised interest rates by 350 basis points to 12% at an emergency meeting in August to prop up a weak ruble.

Russia’s central bank had “correctly” and in a “timely manner” to the ruble’s decline, said Putin. The Russian currency had hit a 16-month low of over 100 to the US dollar in August, which makes imports more expensive. The ruble is now trading at 96 to one dollar.

Analysts polled by Reuters are largely expecting Russia’s central bank to hike rates again later this week to support the ruble and tame inflation.

Russia’s economic development ministry and the Kremlin did not immediately respond to requests from Insider for comment sent outside regular business hours.

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