According to Rosstat, the average daily CPI was unchanged on 1 April (vs. +0.015% for 1 April 2012). Noticeably, the contribution to weekly CPI growth of potato prices exceeded that of vodka prices: the former added 2.2% WoW, while the latter was up 0.2% WoW.
The average growth in fruit and vegetable prices accelerated to 0.8% WoW, from 0.5% WoW during the previous week. Chicken and sugar prices kept deflating.
Last week's CPI report suggests that during the first days of April, CPI growth slowed in YoY terms to 7.1%. We believe that the current key growth drivers of the CPI, potato and vodka prices, are set to became gradually weaker and so we are reiterating our forecast that headline CPI likely peaked in February, at 7.3% YoY, and that the CPI is to reach 5.4% by the year-end.
In our view, headline CPI might have slid to 7.1-7.2% YoY in March (the official reading is to be published on 4-5 April).
A gradual slowdown in CPI would present greater opportunities for the regulator to implement a 25bp rate cut in all rates at the next CBR policy meeting (during the first half of May).