Russia launches bread price audits amid reports of increases
Russia said Thursday it would launch price inspections following media reports the baking industry plans to hike bread prices by 10 percent as inflation and Western sanctions rattle the nation.
"Taking into account the regional nature of the (bread) market, the Federal Anti-monopoly Service has tasked its local offices with carrying out price checks," competition authority official Anna Mirochinenko told Russia's state-run TASS news agency.
She added that 500 bread factories and 50 flour mills in nine Russian regions would be targeted by the inspections.
The announcement came after Russian daily Kommersant -- based on distributers' claims -- reported Thursday that bread prices could jump by 10 percent in coming weeks, despite Russia's bumper harvest this year which produced 100 million tonnes of grain.
Bread producers justified the coming price jump by citing an increase in the cost of imported raw materials, but also packaging and transportation.
While inflation has shot up due to the tumbling the value of the ruble and an embargo on Western food imports, authorities in Russia have promised to crackdown on any price gouging.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently spoke out against the rise in petrol prices at the pump, which has come at a time when the cost of crude oil is failing.
Putin has pushed the competition authority to look into the costlier petrol.
© 2014 AFP