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Russian central bank slashes rates, flags more cuts -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A Russian flag is seen flying over Moscow’s Central Bank Headquarters, Russia on March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

(Reuters) – Russia’s central bank lowered the key interest rate by 11% in an off-schedule session on Friday. It said that it sees room for further cuts as inflation falls from its 20-year-highs and that the economy is closing.

Following a cut to the key rate of 14% at the bank’s extraordinary meeting in April, which came weeks after the emergency rate rise to 20% caused by Russia’s deployment of tens or thousands of troops to Ukraine.

According to the central bank, it has slashed its key interest rate by a total of 900 basis points in February. It said it was open to “the prospect of key rates reductions at its future meetings.”

According to a bank statement, “Inflationary pressure is decreasing due to the rouble exchange rates dynamics and the visible decline in inflation expectancies of households or businesses.”

It stated that although external conditions remain challenging for the Russian economy, there are some opportunities for financial stability, and it is possible to relax capital controls.

Elvira Nabiullina, the Governor, will be speaking at a Moscow bank conference late in the afternoon. This may give her more insight into her bank’s plans.

While the 2022 inflation forecast was not mentioned by the central bank, which had previously been at 18-23% and 2023 respectively, they said that inflation will fall to 5-7 percent in 2023 before it reaches its 4% goal in 2024.

According to the ministry of economy, inflation fell from 17.69% in a week ago to 17.51% by May 20. But, it remained near its high point since early 2002. [nL2N2XH1QZ]

The high inflation rate can affect living standards, and this has been a key concern of Russians over the years.

To cushion Russians against inflation, Vladimir Putin directed Wednesday’s 10% increase in the minimum wage and pensions.

He claimed that all of the country’s economic troubles were unrelated to the “special military operation” it conducted in Ukraine. This has led to severe sanctions from the West.

Juni 10 is the date for the next rate-setting session.