Inflation in Russia accelerates ahead of cenbank meeting

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FILE PHOTO: Policeman stands guard at main entrance to Bank of Russia in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's weekly inflation accelerated to 0.46% in late November, its highest since early July, weeks ahead of a central bank meeting where it is expected to raise rates to rein in stubbornly rising consumer prices, data showed on Wednesday.

Inflation sped up in the week to Nov. 29 from 0.20% in the previous week, Rosstat data showed, putting pressure on the Bank of Russia to opt for a sharper hike in the cost of lending.

The weekly increase in consumer prices was driven by higher food prices as well as by a sharp increase in prices for New Year tours to Turkey, according to Rosstat.

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday inflation was a serious problem, especially for people with low incomes, calling for preemptive measures.

Central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said this week the key interest rate could be raised from 7.5% by up to 100 points at its Dec. 17 board meeting, given that inflation stays near the upper boundary of its forecast range.

Russia has increased the key rate six times this year from a record low of 4.25%, but annual inflation still spiked to a five-year high above 8%, hovering far above the 4% target.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)