MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Retail prices of bananas in the Russian capital reached a 15-year high in January after depreciation of the Russian rouble and an increased demand sent banana prices up in December-February, say experts and market participants polled by TASS.
An average price of one kilogram of bananas grew 48% in January year-on-year, reaching 70.8 roubles, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. Since 2000, consumer prices for bananas have never reached 70 roubles per kilo. Quite recently, in November 2014, banana prices stood at just 52.2 roubles.
Prices of citrus fruits, customary for Russians in the winter season, grew by no more than 29%, Rosstat reports, saying it has no data on price behavior for other popular fruits such as kiwi, pineapples and pomegranates.
Lenta, Auchan and X5 Retail supermarket chains have confirmed to TASS a hike in banana prices. In some chain stores, it reaches 80 to 100 roubles per kilogram, while some non-chain stores demonstrate prices of up to 130 roubles per kilogram.
The Federal Antimonopoly Service says it receives occasional complaints about banana prices, but the agency is not monitoring them, as bananas are not on the list of socially important products.
X5 spokesman Vladimir Rusanov explained growing banana prices by a growth in suppliers’ prices as the rouble weakens. "If we calculate retail prices for bananas in dollars, they will cost less than last year," the director of the FruitNews portal, Irina Koziy, said.
A crisis in the Russian economy and a higher consumer demand for bananas in the Northern hemisphere during the winter have sent banana prices up, Koziy said.
Experts find it difficult at the moment to forecast banana prices in Russia this year. "Looking at the situation outside currency fluctuations, one can expect that banana prices will decline by mid-spring," she said.