Russian Central Bank maintains key rate at 7.5 percent

AFP , Friday 28 Oct 2022

The Russian central bank kept its key rate at 7.5 percent on Friday, an expected measure aimed at supporting the economy against a global trend of rising borrowing costs.

Russia central bank
File Photo: A view of the Russian Central Bank headquarters in downtown Moscow on February 28, 2022. AFP

 

For the first time since the beginning of the military operation in Ukraine, the key rate remains unchanged.

After Russia was hit by Western sanctions over the Ukraine offensive, the bank drastically raised the key rate from 9.5 percent to 20 percent in a bid to counter inflation.

Given reassuring macro-economic signs, it progressively lowered the rate over the following months and markets had expected it would maintain its rate at 7.5 percent on Friday.

The Bank of Russia said it had observed a "further slowdown in annual inflation" and expected "inflation for the end of 2022 to total between 12 and 13 percent".

The bank noted "geopolitical tensions" and said "partial mobilisation" of reservists to boost the Ukraine offensive "will serve as a deterrent to consumer demand and inflation over the horizon of coming months".

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the call-up of hundreds of thousands of reservists on September 21.

There are also "growing restrictions in the labour market, driven in part by the partial mobilisation", the bank said.

The central bank predicted gross domestic product would contract by between 3.0 and 3.5 percent.

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