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Financial News: Russia CB Holds Rate Steady Again; Signal Cut

Russia CB Holds Rate Steady Again; Signal Cut In Near Term

04/26/2019 - 09:42:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Russia's central bank held the key interest rate unchanged in April for a third policy session in a row and suggested that the rate may be lowered in the near term if the macroeconomic situation evolves as expected.

The Board of Directors decided to hold the key rate steady at 7.75 percent, the Bank of Russia said in a statement on Friday, in line with economists' expectations.

"In its key rate decision-making, the Bank of Russia will take into account inflation and economic dynamics against the forecast, as well as risks posed by external conditions and the reaction of financial markets," the bank said.

"If the situation develops in line with the baseline forecast, the Bank of Russia admits the possibility of turning to cutting the key rate in Q2-Q3 2019."

The previous change in the rate was a quarter-point hike in December 2018. A similar size raise was undertake in September last year, which was the first since 2014.

The September and December interest rate hikes were sufficient to curb the effects of one-off pro-inflationary factors, the central bank said. The bank has forecast annual inflation to return to 4 percent in the first half of 2020.

Growth is forecast at 1.2-1.7 percent this year. The central bank noted that annual inflation started to subside in April after annual inflation peaked in March. Consumer prices current growth rates track somewhat below the Bank of Russia forecast and short-term pro-inflationary risks have abated, the bank said.

The next policy session is scheduled for June 14.

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