Rampant inflation means Russians are spending half of their incomes on food this year

Russian foodREUTERS/Eduard KorniyenkoPeople buy goods at a shop of the ‘Russia’ collective farm in the settlement of Grigoropolisskaya, northwest of the southern city of Stavropol, February 17, 2015.

There’s an amazing (and horrible) statistic on Russia’s grim economic outlook in a Quartz article just out, showing that ordinary Russians are going to be spending half of their incomes on food alone this year.

Russian inflation is now back over 15% for the first time since 2008, and self-imposed import sanctions on food from the EU are biting hard, driving up food prices particularly.

What’s most amazing about the surge in Russian food spending is that it’s not confined to this year or last: The share has been steadily climbing in each year since at least 2007, when it sat at just 25%.

Russians now spend more as a portion of their incomes on food than some much poorer countries: Kenyans spend less than 50%, while China and India, with per-capita incomes far lower than Russia’s, spend less than 30%.

Quartz cites analysts at VTB Capital, who expect Russian incomes to rise by about 7% this year – not even close to keeping up with the 20% food inflation expected in the first half of 2015 at least.

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