Russian inflation rose faster than analysts forecast in December, staying near the six-year high that has prompted the central bank to warn more key-rate increases may be needed to tame price growth. Annual inflation reached 8.39% this month from 8.4% in November, the Federal Statistics Service reported late Wednesday, citing preliminary data. That was above the forecast of 8.26% in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Prices gained 0.82% in a month, while inflation slowed slightly in the past week, according to the agency. “It’s too early to expect softer rhetoric from the central bank,” said Irina Lebedeva, an economist at Uralsib Bank in Moscow, speaking before the data release. “The Bank of Russia will most likely raise the key rate again in February, I expect by 50 basis points, and then we […]