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Fed rate increase on March 15 not to affect ruble rate, experts say

March 14, 2017, 21:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The US Fed rate hike has already been taken into consideration by the market, according to the experts

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MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. The US Federal Reserve will increase the base rate at its meeting on March 14-15 with almost 100% probability. Therefore it has already been taken into consideration by the market and will not affect the ruble rate, experts questioned by TASS said on Tuesday. Furthermore, economists believe the US Fed decision on the rate will not influence on the outcome of the meeting of the Bank of Russia on the key rate to be held on March 24.

"The Fed rate increase is actually predetermined. Chances are very high that this will take place. So the market has taken all that into consideration and I do not believe any material impact on the ruble rate will take place," Metallivestbank expert Sergei Romanchuk said.

The ruble rate dynamics will be steered by oil prices fluctuations, experts said. "The Fed rate growth expectations are already in prices and declining oil will therefore continue determining the short-term trends," ING Bank chief economist for Russia and CIS Dmitry Polevoi said.

"Oil prices are still under pressure against the background of skepticism in respect of renewal of the OPEC oil production limiting agreement for the second half of the year, growing activity of North American producers and closing of many long speculative positions in futures," Promsvyazbank analyst Mikhail Poddubskiy adds.

The decision of the Bank of Russia on the key rate to be taken on March 24 will also influence the ruble in March. No reduction of the rate is expected by experts. The US Fed rate hike may preclude the Russian regulator from relaxation of the monetary policy in March.

"Most probably, our CB will also be predictable and will not change the rate," Sergei Romanchuk said in the comment.

The Bank of Russia keeps the key rate at the level of 10% from September 2016.

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