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Russian Central Bank may reduce key rate this year

April 20, 14:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The regulator’s chief says "a quicker decline in inflation opens the scope for reduction of the key rate already in April"

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© Vyacheslav Prokofiev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Bank sees the scope for its key rate reduction in the second quarter of this year if positive economic trends persist, the regulator’s Chief Elvira Nabiullina said Thursday.

"On the whole the current economic situation inspires hope. We see the scope for further reduction of the key rate in the second quarter if the situation unfolds as forecasted," she said.

"A quicker decline in inflation opens the scope for reduction of the key rate already in April, and I even admit that the key rate reduction by between 25 and 50 basis points may be considered at the next board meeting in a week," she said Thursday.

"Inflation declined to 4.3% in March, and to 4.1% in annual terms as of April 17, which is very close to the targeted level," she said. "We’ll further pursue moderately tough monetary policy in order to see inflation stabilized at around 4% and a sustainable reduction of inflationary expectations," she said. The Central Bank’s key goal within its inflation targeting policy is to bring inflation down to 4% by the end of this year. In its main macroeconomic scenario of the monetary policy, the regulator refers to this goal as achievable.

On 24 March 2017, the Central Bank’s board of directors decided to cut the key rate from 10.00 to 9.75% per annum, which was the first reduction since September 2016. The slowdown of inflation overshoots the forecast, while inflation expectations continue to decline and economic activity recovers, the board said. The regulator also admitted the possibility of cutting the key rate gradually in coming second and third quarters while assessing evolving inflation dynamics and economic developments against the forecast.

Yuan bonds

The bank noted the interest of large Russian corporate issuers to placing bonds in yuan on the Moscow Exchange.

"We can already see the interest from large Russian issuers in this mechanism. We are working with the National Bank of China and currently there are no obstacles to the placement," she said.

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