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Food Prices Stabilizing, But Bread and Chicken Edge Higher; Sugar Scarce With

March 4, 1992

Food Prices Stabilizing, But Bread and Chicken Edge Higher; Sugar Scarce With PM-Soviet-Marketbasket-Table

MOSCOW (AP) _ The price of bread and chicken edged up this week while sugar remains scarce, a survey shows, though prices overall have leveled off after rising several-fold since the decontrol of prices at the beginning of the year.

Shops are stocking lowfat milk instead of regular milk in order to stretch supplies, according to a survey of seven stores for the AP’s ″Moscow Marketbasket.″

Sugar has been impossible to find, as it was even before the Russian government lifted price controls on most goods on Jan. 2.

Milk supplies have improved since late February, although it appears that lowfat milk is being substituted in many stores.

The price of sausage has remained steady since Feb. 18, but chicken has edged up to 19.77 rubles per pound, over last week’s 18.29 rubles per pound.

The average Russian salary is about 960 rubles per month. There are about 70 rubles per dollar.

A loaf of white bread has risen to 4.20 rubles, up from 3.33 rubles a week ago. Bread prices remain controlled but apparently are being allowed to rise slowly.

Before the Jan. 2 reforms, a loaf of white bread sold for 60 kopecks. The current price represents a 700 percent increase.

With each passing week, more and more people are gathering outside food stores to resell goods bought inside.

These sales of unregulated food may be a bargain for some, but they can be deadly for others. The Russian Information Agency reported 33 cases of botulism - two of them lethal - in the past two months, from improperly preserved mushrooms, vegetables and smoked fish.

Although not in the ″Moscow Marketbasket,″ one price that went up dramatically in the capital this week was for public transport. A journey by subway, bus, trolley or tram rose more than three times - from 15 kopecks to 50 kopecks, as of March 1.

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