• Short Summary

    The Soviet Union has doubled the price of petrol and trebled the cost of coffee.?

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    The Soviet Union has doubled the price of petrol and trebled the cost of coffee. In a package announced on Wednesday (2 March) the state committee on prices also revealed rises affecting alcohol, cocoa, jewelery, and other items. The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Nikolai Glushkov, said the increases were necessary because of rocketing commodity prices on the world market and the increasing costs of oil extraction. He emphasised that none of the rises affected primary necessities, and that ordinary citizens would not be inconvenienced.

    SYNOPSIS: The overnight price increases had been preceded by a wave of rumours in Moscow, where shoppers had stocked up on items they though would be affected. The rise in petrol prices was obviously the worst for consumers. It doubled in price, going up to 16 and 20 kopeks a litre, (85 cents and 1.10 U.S. dollars per U.S. gallon).

    And many luxury items were hard hit. The price of coffee trebled, and will now cost Soviet coffee drinkers 20 roubles a kilo (13.25 U.S. dollar a pound). But the prices committee chairman, Mr. Glushkov, said coffee was not a necessity, as Soviet consumers had a strong tradition of tea drinking. he insisted no staple items had been affected.

    Mr. Glushkov said the petrol rise would still leave his country's fuel cheaper than in most Western European countries and emphasised the stability of Soviet prices.

    And prices of some items were actually reduced by between 20 and 30 percent. Black and white televisions - less popular now that colour is available were to be reduced by 20 percent. Refrigerators, and some items made from synthetic fibres were also to be significantly reduced.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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