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Iran inflation rises for 12th month, to 16.3pc

Tehran, August 15, 2011

Iranian inflation has risen every month for the past year, according to data released on Monday, but the official 16.3 per cent pace still appears to underplay the impact of the government cutting $60 billion of subsidies for food and fuel.

The semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani as saying inflation hit 16.3 per cent year-on-year in the Iranian month of Tir, which ended July 22.

That continues the steady rise from a 25-year low of 8.8 per cent in August 2010.

"We will witness the falling tendency in the inflation rate in the coming months, and hope the figure will become single-digit within one year," Bahmani said.

With the massive subsidy cuts implemented by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in December causing utility, fuel and food bills to soar, many Iranians, including prominent politicians and analysts, believe the real figure is much higher.

In report published by the International Monetary Fund earlier this month, Tehran said it expected inflation to spike to 22 per cent this Iranian year, which runs to April 2012.

Ahmad Tavakoli, a frequent critic of Ahmadinejad who heads parliament's research centre, has said inflation could reach 50 per cent.

Economists have told Reuters the subsidy reform -- which was much needed to avoid wasteful use of resources -- risks causing runaway inflation but that measures to rein in prices could suffocate Iran's economy.

The central bank said in early July it was no longer planning to issue inflation data and that the job had been passed to a body called the Supreme Council of Statistics.

Critics accused the government of seeking to hide true inflation data at a time when consumer prices are a particularly sensitive issue.

But Bahmani said on Monday he planned to continue to release the data.

"It has been agreed for the statistical center to announce the inflation rate but nevertheless the Central Bank of Iran will continue to compute the rate and will announce it 10 days after the end of the month," he said. – Reuters




Tags: Central Bank | inflation | Iran | Tehran | Subsidies |

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