MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. The Russian Central Bank has lowered the key interest rate to 14% from 15%, and it's ready to cut the key interest rate further as inflation risks in Russia are weakening, the bank said in a press release issued after the bank’s board of directors meeting on Friday.
The cantral bank announced that Russia's annual inflation is expected to drop to 9% by March 2016. The public sector salary increase, the possible revision of regulated price and tariff growth and the easing of fiscal policy are key risks to inflation dynamics.
"According to Central Bank's forecast, the current monetary policy and slowdown in economic activity will contribute to the slowing of the annual growth rate of consumer prices to a level of about 9% in a year from now, March 2016, and will reach the target level of 4% in 2017," the press release said.
The US dollar exchange rate has dropped to 61.03 rubles at Moscow Exchange following the decision to lower the key interest rate.
The press release also said Russia’s GDP is to decrease by 3.5-4% in 2015. Earlier, the Bank estimated Russia’s GDP decline at 0.7%.
Russia's Economic Development Ministry predicts the decline in Russia's economy in 2015 by 3%.
Earlier the majority (9 out of 15) of analysts polled by TASS said they expected the Bank of Russia to cut its key interest rate at least to 14% at March 13 board meeting.
On March 3, 2014, the Bank of Russia raised its key interest rate to 7%. During 2014, the bank kept on gradually raising it to 8%, 9.5% and 10.5%. On December 16, 2014, the bank drastically raised the interest rate from 10.5% to 17%. On January 30, the bank’s board of directors decided to lower the key interest rate to 15%.